We get it: Digital marketing can be a complicated business. Aside from myriad acronyms to keep up with (SEO, PPC, CTR, SEM), it seems like there’s a completely separate dictionary that comes with knowing anything about working in digital. And try as we might, we here at 352 recognize that sometimes we use vernacular that might be a little difficult for our clients to decipher. So, we created a cheat sheet for common words and phrases that are thrown around in our industry.

We’ll also be posting a guide to common phrases used in pay per click (PPC) marketing, as well as words and phrases associated with using Google Analytics, a popular tool used to measure site metrics, and general web development.

Anchor text: The text that displays over a hyperlink to another website. (Example: This is anchor text.)

Algorithm: A secret, possibly magical, formula that search engines use to rank the quality of websites to determine who should appear at the top of search engine results pages.

Backlink:  A link from an external site that is linking to your website.

Broken link: A link that when clicked doesn’t take the user anywhere, or takes them to a nonexistent (404) page.

Not every 404 page is as cute as ours, unfortunately.
Not every 404 page is as cute as ours, unfortunately.

Call to action: Something that entices the visitor to perform an action. Common calls to action include submitting a contact form, signing up for a newsletter, or downloading something off your site.

Click through rate (CTR): The percentage of people who click on something. Ideally, the higher, the better.

Crawling: How search engines detect what information is on your website, as well as detect changes to your site, which can include new pages of content, new backlinks, and more.

Domain authority: A number on a scale of 1 to 100 that essentially represents how authoritative your website is in the eyes of the search engines. 1 is the lowest ranking on this scale, and 100 is the highest, but that score is usually reserved for sites like Facebook, Google, and Twitter. Your domain authority increases when multiple relevant, trustworthy websites link to your website.

Headers: Short, descriptive phrases used to break up text on pages of your website. Note that there is a hierarchy associated with header tags, with H1s being the most important, H2 being the next most important, H3, etc.

Keyword stuffing: Placing keywords excessively in content in the hopes search engines will find your content relevant for that keyword. Search engines will now penalize sites that stuff keywords in content.

Landing page: The page a user first lands on when entering your website.

Link building: Creating links from external websites to point back to your website. Note that no matter what the circumstance, links should never be purchased.

Linking root domains (LRDs): The number of websites that provide a link to your website.

Local citation: Online listings of your business’s name, address, phone number, and website. These citations will play a role in your business’s local SEO and are beneficial for brick and mortar businesses targeting local customers (as opposed to wanting only online traffic).

Long-tail keyword: A keyword that is long, but very descriptive and specific. Usually, there is low search volume associated with these words but it is easier to rank for these keywords than broad, very popular keywords.

Targeting in-depth search terms brings lower traffic, but more engaged users
Targeting in-depth search terms brings lower traffic, but more engaged users

META description: The page description that appears on search engine results pages. Carries very little weight for SEO purposes but can increase the click through rate for that page.

META keywords: Keywords only visible by search engines; an old school way to let search engines know what words and phrases your page is relevant for. Generally avoided now.

Off page factors: Items that are not on your website that contribute to your site’s search engine optimization strength. These factors include backlinks, social signals (Facebook likes and shares), and more.

On page factors: Elements of your website that contribute to your website’s search engine optimization health. These factors include keyword integration, internal linking structures, and more.

Optimizing content: Ensuring the content on your website is in line with SEO best practices as much as possible. Should include relevant, descriptive keywords and phrases; internal links to other pages of your website; and should be unique for each page of your website.

Panda: A Google update first announced in February 2011 that is meant to stop websites with poor quality content from climbing the search engine results pages.

Penguin: A Google update first launched in April 2012 that was created to penalize websites thought to be purchasing links or obtaining links through spammy link networks.

Spiders: Gross, icky insects. Also: What search engines use to crawl your website.

TITLE tag: The information that reads at the top of your browser and on search engine results pages. These page titles should be unique and descriptive for what information users can expect to find on that particular page.


352 is an innovation and growth firm. Leading companies hire us to find billion-dollar opportunities, build killer new products and create hockey-stick growth. We bring grit and new-fashioned thinking to innovation, digital development and growth marketing.