We've assembled a list of key industry terms that may be helpful to have defined.

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Above the fold

The part of a web page that is visible without scrolling. Material in this area is considered more valuable because the reader sees it first. It refers to a printing term for the top half of a newspaper above the fold, but unlike a newspaper, e-mail and web page fold locations aren't predictable. Your fold may be affected by the user's preview pane, monitor size, monitor resolution, and any headers placed by e-mail programs.


Set of mathematical rules that describes or determines a circumstance or action. In the case of search engines, unique algorithms determine the ranking of websites returned by search queries.


The first phase of the product marketing cycle, during which prospects gain awareness of the product or service.





Call to action (CTA)

In a marketing message, web ad, or e-mail, the link or body copy that tells the recipient what action to take (e.g., "Call us now!").


The process of clicking on a link in a search engine output page to visit an indexed site.

Clickthrough rate (CTR)

The total number of clicks on search ads or e-mails or divided by the number of ads viewed or e-mails sent.


Containing content specific to the topic at hand.

Conversion rate

The percentage of visitors or users who "convert" on the action of a web page, e-mail, or campaign.

Cost per lead (CPL)

Cost of a marketing campaign divided by the number of leads generated.


Domain name system (DNS)

The actual name for an IP address or range of IP addresses.

Dynamic content

Web page information that changes according to rules set by the client or server.

Eye tracking

A type of web page testing that follows the eye movements of participants to gauge how they interact with the page.

Heat map

A map of a web page that displays where users most likely direct their eyesight on the page.


A word that forms all or part of a search engine query.

Keyword phrase

A phrase that forms all or part of a search engine query.

Meta tag

A part of the source code used to build a website. Meta tags should correspond to the content of the site and the goals of the search engine marketing campaign.


A cross between a landing page and a full website. Microsites often have their own domain names and even separate brands from the organization's core brand. Microsites are used when a marketer wants to offer visitors an extended experience for branding or educational purposes.

Natural results

Organic listings

Search results that are provided free of charge and are based on the algorithms of the search engine.

Paid placement

An ad model where search engines return paid advertising when appropriate queries are used. For example, if someone searches for "new cars," a paid ad from a major auto manufacturer may appear. Advertisers bid on specific keywords that are contained in search queries and attach specific text ads to them.

Pay per click (PPC)

Paid search advertising is usually based on this model, where advertisers pay for each click originating from a source of traffic.

Phrase matching

A variation on broad matching that allows the search engine to return results that include your phrase. For example, you've bid on "Hawaii surf," and the phrase-matched query "Hawaii surf shop" will return your ad, but won't return "surf pros in Hawaii."


A word, phrase, or string of words used to define the response from a search engine or database.


A web page's position in search engine results for a particular keyword or keyword phrase. Higher rankings typically indicate better SEO.

Return on investment (ROI)

Either mathematical or anecdotal analysis of payback for a project.

Search engine optimization (SEO)

The practice of designing and writing web pages to be attractive to search engines.


A program or computer that stores and distributes e-mail from one mailbox to another.


A small program that surfs the web to index information for a search engine.

Unique visitor

A single visitor to a website determined by the number of unique IP addresses that hit the site.

Uniform resource locator (URL)

The web address for a page, always beginning with http:// (or https:// for secure pages), followed by www,, then the domain name. (e.g.,