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The Beginners Search Engine Jargon Buster

Nov 15th 2012

There’s a lot of acronyms when it comes to anything Search Engine related, so here are a few key ones to help you get to grips with what they mean.

Confused by terms like SEO, SEM, PPC? Get to grips with the basic with our Search Engine Jargon Buster.

SEO: Search Engine Optimisation
Search Engine Optimisation is a commonly used term and just as often mis-used.
It generally refers to changing content and the focus of key pages on a website in order to be found in Google search results when a specific phrase is typed. For example if the search term “plumbers Watford” is typed in to Google, the website may have a page that is built to use this term heavily within its content, in order to influence Google that this page is directly relevant.

SEM: Search Engine Marketing
SEM is a much broader variant of SEO that often encompasses more than simple web page optimisation and also paid search listings.

SERP: Search Engine Results Page
SERP is the listing of results returned by a search engine in response to a keyword query.

PPC: Pay-Per-Click
Pay-per-click is paid advertising where an advert is displayed and when clicked the advertisers pays an amount of money. Google AdWords is the most well know service that delivers PPC advertising, though Bing, Yahoo and Facebook are others that offer PPC advertising.

CPC: Cost-per-Click
When using Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising, cost for each click typically vary depending on the quality of the advert and the amount of competition (number of other advertisers wishing to have their adverts displayed for the same term). Cost-Per-Click is the amount actually paid for each Click.

CPM: Cost Per Mille
This is a direct alternative to Per-Per-Click advertising. CPM is based on the principal that you pay for every 1,000 impressions of an advert. An Impression is an instance of an advert being displayed.

CPA: Cost Per Acquisition
Cost Per Acquisition refers to the actual cost of achieving a specific result as an outcome of advertising. For example if a website was looking to get new customers by inviting them to buy a product, the Cost per Acquisition would be measured by looking at the cost of advertising in order to achieve each action. For example if each Click on a Pay-per-click basis cost £1, and 1 in every 10 clicks converted to an action, the Cost Per Acquisition would be measured as £10.

CTR: Click-Through Ratio
A common term with Per-Per-Click advertising. If an advert is displayed 100 times and clicked once, the Click-Through Ratio would be 1%, (i.e. 1 [click] / 100 [impressions] expressed as a percentage). A CTR is a common measure of relevance in that if one advert has a higher CTR than another, it may be considered to be more relevant, therefore of better quality.

An Impression is an instance of an advert being displayed within paid advertising.

A conversion is an instance of a pre-defined action taking place. Conversions are common sales goals such as a Sale, an article being downloaded, an enquiry being made or a sign-up to a service.

ROI: Return On Investment
Return On Investment is measured looking at the cost of advertising based against Conversions such as sales.

Meta Tags
Meta tags are hidden HTML tags that sit at the top of a web page’s HTML source code.
These are not seen by the website’s user, but describe the page’s content to any service wishing to read and store the contents of the page, the most common being a Search Engine. Meta tags define information such as:

  • A description of the page
  • The age rating and certification of the page
  • Whether the page is allowed to be stored (indexed) by a Search Engine
  • How often a page can be visited by a Search Engine
  • The owner of the web page
  • Key words that the page should be ranked under (not used by most Search Engines)

H1 Tag
Akin to a Word document, web pages have logical headings too, for example Heading 1, Heading 2, Heading 3, etc. Heading 1 is considered the primary heading of the page and is expected to give the general subject and context of the page. Google uses H1 tags in order to understand the context of the page, it therefore has a notable influence on how a page is ranked in Google.

We hope you found our Search Engine Jargon Buster, useful, so if you need to know more, call us on 01727 739812, or why not take a look at our Search Engine Essentials Workshop?