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Acronym overload: Navigate the acronym-heavy world of online marketing

If there is one thing the online marketing community loves it’s a good acronym. There isn’t a service that doesn’t have its own handy little moniker. The downside, of course, is that web marketers have developed a unique language that no one else understands. Even today, a decade into search marketing, dropping some terms into dinner party conversation will earn you some blank stares.

So, right here for your edification, we translate some of the most common terms and acronyms from web marketing speak into layman’s terms.

Web marketing terms translated

SEO – Search Engine Optimisation

SEO is probably the most important acronym in the industry. It sums up what the whole thing is about, which is to optimise websites and all online content (including paid content) so that search engines like Google and Bing will find it and deem it relevant to search queries. The more relevant and popular Google (or Bing) thinks your content is to a particular search term the more likely your content is to appear on the top of the SERPs.

SERPs – Search Engine Results Pages

When you type in a query in a search box you get a whack load of page results. These are numbered from the most relevant to the least relevant. The aim of SEO and all its related activities is to get a particular website or piece of content right at the top of the first page. Several studies have shown that web users seldom go beyond the first results page, and if they do they are even less likely to go beyond page number two. So, your SERPs ranking is a key indicator of your SEO efforts.

SEM – Search Engine Marketing

SEM entails all search engine marketing-related activities, including paid for ads (PPC) and natural (organic) content. Depending on who you talk to, SEO is either a subset of SEM or it’s the other way round. These days they tend to considered two separate fields as SEM relates specifically to marketing endeavours.

PPC – Pay Per Click

PPC ads are a great way to achieve almost instant results in your search marketing campaign. The idea is that you bid on certain relevant keywords and then (according to some high-end calculations by Google, which include the quality of your website) you appear on relevant SERPs. The top three paid ad positions are considered the best. The nice thing about PPC is that, as the name implies, you only have to pay every time someone clicks on your ad.

CTR – Click Through Rate

CTR is the measure of how successful your PPC campaign is. Very simply CTR is the number of times your ad is clicked compared to the number of times it is shown.

CPC – Cost Per Click

CPC is the amount of money you pay every time a PPC is clicked. You can determine the maximum amount to be paid when you bid on keywords.

SMO – Social Media Optimisation

SMO is not as commonly used as some of the other terms. Basically it involves treating all social media activities to the same optimisation processes as your website.

SMM – Social Media Marketing

SMM is similar to SMO in that it’s not used by all web marketing companies. It includes social media marketing techniques sharing viral content on social networking websites.

ORM – Online Reputation Management

ORM is increasingly important in a world where a publications disaster is only a click away. It’s essential to know what people are saying about you online, so that you know how your company, staff and products/services are perceived. The aim, obviously, is to ensure that only positive results appear when people search for your brand. Should some disaster occur and the web becomes inundated with negative search results, every effort is made to battle those bad results down by adding and optimising appropriate responses, apologies and good news. This is done in the form of Online PR.

Online PR – Online Public Relations

Online PR includes everything done to create a positive brand presence online.

CRO – Conversion Rate Optimisation

One of the main aims of all SEO, SEM and PPC efforts is to convert leads into done deals. CRO is the process of assessing your conversion rate, determining where conversions are being lost and fixing the problem. Sometimes the problem is simple: your call to action might be lost at the bottom of your page. Sometimes it’s more serious, such as content that doesn’t meet your market’s needs. The point is that you use testing and analytics to help you narrow down the problem and don’t get disheartened by trial and error.

PR – PageRank

PR is term used to describe Google’s assessment of importance of a given webpage through its link analysis algorithm.

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