Search Engine Marketing Glossary

Actual Cost per Click

It is the amount paid by the advertiser to the PPC Ad Service provider for every click on the advertisement. This cost can be less than or equal to the maximum cost per click. In other words, it’s the cost which the advertiser pays to the PPC service provider in order to maintain his ad position online.


Whenever a potential customer leads to any kind of conversion like sales, sign up, etc. this data is useful to calculate the cost per conversion or cost per acquisition.

Ad Status

It indicates the current status of a PPC (Pay per Click) ad. Different websites show the ad status in different ways.

For example:


  • Active – Ads which are displayed on Google
  • Deleted – Ads that have been deleted from ad group
  • Paused – Ads that have been paused within an ad group
  • Disapproved – Ads that have been disapproved because they don’t conform to Google’s standards and guidelines.

Yahoo Search Marketing

  • Online – The active listings (a keyword and ad combination) currently in your account
  • Offline – All the listings you have elected to make offline (account may be switched off, or that listing has manually been switched to the offline setting)
  • Pending Listings – Refers to the lists that are pending for approval before going online
  • Declined Listings – All the listings that have been declined due to non-compliance with the editorial guidelines
  • Low Click Index Listings – All the listings that are receiving a low click-through rate and are likely to be removed
  • Removed Listings – All the listings that have been removed within the last 90 days


It’s a service provided by Google to allow different website owners to display Google ads on their websites and receive money for any click-throughs.

Ad Words

It’s a Google pay-per-click advertising system. Whenever a search term is typed into the Google search bar, the targeted PPC ads appear at the right hand side of the page.

AdWords Reseller

A certified status provided by Google to an individual retail company selling Google Adwords. To qualify for the Adwords Reseller status, a company must parse specific mandatory requirements set by Google. Requirements include the total revenue spent on Google Adwords and how many qualified Adwords professionals a company has.


It refers to the set of rules and standards according to which a search engine ranks websites. Different search engines use different algorithms which take a lot of factors into account in order to determine the rank of a particular web page.

Anchor Text

It is the text that is displayed as the backlink to your site. Some search engines such as Google use anchor text as an off-page factor while ranking a site. Thus, it is good to have the desired search terms as anchor text if possible.

Average Cost Per Click (AvCPC)

It is the average cost per click attributed to an ad.

Backlinks (Inbound Links)

These are the links residing on the other web pages but refer back to your web page. While ranking a web page, the backlinks are taken into account by some natural search engines as off-page factor.

Black hat / white hat SEO

Black hat SEO refers to those methods that do not comply with the SEO guidelines laid down by search engines. On the contrary, white hat SEO entails those methods that are in line with the SEO guidelines. Another important thing which is to be noted is that the search engines frequently update their SEO standards.

Clicks (Click-throughs)

Every time a user clicks on an ad, one click is registered for that ad. The advertiser pays only for the registered clicks to the PPC service provider and not for the display of ad.

Click-Through Rate (CTR)

It is the rate at which the internet users clicks on an ad and increase the number of click through registrations.

Content Match & Search Match

PPC ads can be displayed in two ways — on the search engine results page and on the Google and Yahoo! content networks. The former is known as search match ads and the latter is known as content match ads because they are displayed on the relevant websites only which matches with the content of the ad.


Whenever a visitor on a web site actually purchases some product/service, becomes a potential customer or becomes a registered member, it is considered as conversion. Conversion helps in judging the scope of the advertised products.

Conversion Rate

It’s the rate at which conversions take place on a particular web page/site.

Conversion Tracking

It refers to the process of keeping a record of the conversions for accounting purposes. Conversion tracking provides vital input for calculating the ROI.

Cost Per Click (CPC)

It indicates the fee paid by the advertiser to the PPC service provider for each click on his ad. CPC is determined after taking into consideration various factors like the maximum bid, daily budget, etc.

Cost Per Conversion

It refers to the click costs required to actually deliver a conversion, i.e. total click cost divided by total conversions.

CPM (Cost Per Thousand)

It indicates the amount which an advertiser pays for 1,000 ad impressions. CPM is a traditional model to determine price of online ads. Nowadays, mostly PPC is used for this purpose.

Crawler (Spider)

Search engines use crawlers (also called a spiders or robots) while searching for search terms. Crawlers follow hyperlinks from one page to another in order to index web pages and rank them in the database.

Cross Linking

In cross linking, the URLs of different web sites under the same owner are linked together. If there is too much use of cross links, then search engines may penalize for it.

Daily Budget

It shows the maximum amount an advertiser can pay for his ads per day. In other words, daily budget indicates the paying capacity of an advertiser.

Destination URL

Destination URL is that URL which takes the user directly to that page where the content regarding the advertised product is available. Destination URL is generally different from the home page. This saves time and effort of the user as he does not have to search for a particular resource.

Display URL

It is the URL displayed in the ad. It can be a short version of destination URL.

Description Tag

This tag is used in HTML coding within the Meta information tag which helps to introduce the web site to search engines.

Doorway Page

These are the pages that are designed specially to get higher rankings in search engine listings. They are also known as gateway pages. Excessive use of such kind of pages may lead to search engine penalties.


A web directory refers to a list of URLs where the users manually look for websites instead of using an automatic search agent/crawler. A directory consists of different categories, with each containing a large number of relevant URLs.


It refers to a Google spider which automatically updates search engines with recently updated web pages.

Google Bombing (Link Bombing)

It is the stage at which a particular web page gets the highest rank every time the user searches for a particular keyword. Google has updated its algorithms in order to prevent link bombing.


It’s the Google’s main spider/crawler which searches the Internet for web pages.

Google Dance

Google Dance refers to that stage when Google updates its search engine rankings. At this point there will be a difference in the Google’s main servers and its secondary servers results.


In geo-targeting, ads are displayed only to the users belonging to a particular region, pin code, state, etc. It is done mainly to increase the relevance of ads. Geo-targeting is short for geographical targeting.


One hit is count every time a file is downloaded to the web browser from the web server as a result of the click made by the user on the ad.

Image Ads

Image ads are primarily graphical banners which use “keyword-matching technology” and get displayed only on the relevant web pages.


Impressions indicate the number of times an ad is being displayed on the web. One single appearance equals one impression.

Inbound Links

If a website contains any links pointing towards any other web sites, then those links are known as inbound links. These links are taken into account by the search engines while ranking websites.

Keywords Tag

This tag is used in HTML within the Meta tag. It is used to define the search keywords to which the web site will respond.

Keyword Density

It refers to the number of times a particular keyword appears on the web page.

Link Popularity

It refers to the measurement of the inbound links by the search engines in order to determine the popularity of a web page.

Landing Page

It is that web page where the user is directed to, once he clicks on an ad.


The search results of a search engine are called listings.

Local Search Engines

It refers to those search engines which shows results based on the keywords and a particular location. Examples of local search engines include Google Local and Yahoo! Local.

Meta Tag

It consists of the keywords and description about a web page. Meta tags are used by the search engines and its contents are not displayed on the web page.

Maximum Cost Per Click (Max Bid)

It is the maximum price an advertiser agrees to pay for each click on his ad.

Natural Search Results (Organic Listings)

Organic listings are those non-sponsored search results for which the web site owner does not pay for any clicks.

‘Nofollow’ Tag

It’s an HTML tag that’s added to an anchor tag so that the link doesn’t “leak” or pass on page rank to the linked-to site. The tag is endorsed by the major search engines (including Google, Yahoo! and MSN), and tells the spider not to pass on page rank to the site being linked to. This means that people can’t use your site to build up their own backlinks without your approval.

Off-Page Factors

Any factors which are considered by the search engines in ranking a web page but are external to that web page are known as off-page factors. Backlinks, for example.

On-Page Factors

These are those elements which reside on the web page being ranked by the search engine. For example, keywords, description etc.

Online Local Profile

It’s a detailed business profile with a unique URL which you can give to your customers. You can mange your profile the way you want. It is used when you don’t want a website but you still want an online presence.

Optimization Services

It refers to all those SEO services which help your web site earn better search rankings and visibility. Examples of optimization services are keyword research, review and improvement of meta data, copywriting, backlink building, sitemap design, consultation on site design and navigation, search engine submission etc.

Paid Inclusion

It’s a paid service in which the web site owner pays to the search engine company which assures that his web site will appear in the search listings.

Page Rank

It’s a Google’s way of ranking web pages. For this, Google use a lot of algorithms which take into consideration a lot of on-page and off-page factors.

Pay-Per-Call (PPCall) Advertising

It’s a new sibling of PPC. In Pay-per-call service the customers get a free phone number to call instead of asking them to click on an ad link.

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) or “Paid Search” Advertising

Search engine listings contain the organic search results as well as some sponsored links. The sponsored links are the targeted one and each time a user clicks on those links the web site owner pays for it to the PPC service provider.

Page View

It refers to the total number of times a web site has been viewed by the web surfers. Page view is an on-page factor in determining the page rankings.

Reciprocal Link (Link Swap)

Sometimes when you submit your link on another website, that website asks you to add its link to your web page in return. The link provided by that web site is known as reciprocal link.


It refers to the relative position of a particular web page with respect to the others in the search engine listing.


It is used with the Meta information tag in HTML to tell visiting search engine robots how to behave. For example, a robot tag can be used to tell the search engine spider whether to index a certain page or not.

Results Page

The page which is displayed whenever a user searches for a keyword is known as results page. It is also called SERPs (search engine results page)

Return on Investment (ROI)

It is a measurement of the amount of money lost or earned on an investment compared to the amount of money invested. Example: If you spend $1,000 on a pay-per-click campaign and generate $1,450 in revenue from this campaign, your ROI would be 45%.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

The practice of getting your web site visible in search engine listings and that too with a good ranking is known as SEM. It consists of all those activities which optimize a web site like SMO, SEO, PPC etc.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

It’s a practice of optimizing the web pages in such a way that it earns good rankings during search engine listings. SEO aims at using the most commonly used keywords in the web site content as well as in the keywords meta tag.

Search Engine

It’s a web site which facilitates the web crawling and searching. Search engines use various algorithms to search for web pages based on keywords and to prepare and maintain its indices and databases.


It increases the chances of getting your web site displayed in the search engine listings. Submission aims at submitting the link of your web site to various directories and on other web sites.

Search Terms (Queries)

The keywords or phrases which a user enters while searching for web pages are known as search terms.


Any practice which adversely affects the search engine rankings comes under spamdexing. Spamdexing is a way of Search Engine Marketing (SEM) which is considered as bad. In spamdexing excessive use of keywords and doorway pages is done so that every time a user searches for a particular keyword, a particular web site dominates the rankings of the others. However, what is spam and what is not a spam is not clearly specified. Every search engine has its own set of algorithms in order to detect and prevent spamdexing.


It stands for Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization. It is a non-profit association of professionals from the search engine marketing industry which aims at increasing the awareness and promotes SEM.


It’s short for “search engine results pages”. It is also known as search engine listings and refers to the page which shows the results of a search engine.


Traffic generally refers to the total number of visits made to a web page. It is considered as the on-page factor by most of the search engines while ranking the site. Traffic directly indicates the popularity level of the page.

Trusted Feed

In trusted feed the advertiser uses an XML feed in order to directly send the web site content to the search engines for indexing and the feed service provider charges for that. In order to get better rankings the feeds can be optimized in a number of ways.


This tag is used in HTML coding in order to assign a title to the web page. The contents of these tags are displayed on the title bar of the web browser.

White Label

Describes a product or service offered by a supplier to a retailer who rebrands it to look like there own.

Sam PascuaSearch Engine Marketing Glossary