Glossary of Digital Marketing Terms

As a business owner, you know web marketing is the place you need to be, but it’s daunting. Everyone is throwing around terms about how digital marketing is accomplished and how it’s measured and it’s all so confusing. But you’ve decided you’re ready to bite the bullet and rev up your online marketing. But digital marketing professionals throw around terms that are pretty much meaningless to you. 

Before you speak with a online marketing professional, review this glossary of digital marketing terms to help you speak the jargon of the SEO professional. 

We’ve divided the terms into four categories as they relate to creating an SEO optimized online website — 1) how visitors arrive on your website, 2) on-page optimization, 3) off-page optimization, and 4) technical optimization. We’ve added a 5th category of how to understand Google Analytics data. Keep this list handy for the next time you need to “Speak Digital”! 

Let’s start with the general term that provides the umbrella for all of these other terms:

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) = The process of affecting the visibility of web pages on your website in search engines’ unpaid results—often referred to as “organic” or “natural” results.

How Do Visitors Arrive To Your Website

Search Query = The words typed into the search engine’s query box that the user uses to satisfy a specific need for information.

Search Engine Results Page (SERPs) = After the user types in the search query and hits ‘enter’, the resulting information displayed are called SERPs. On the first page, you will see 4 paid ads at the top, 3 map results, 10 organic links, and 3 paid ads at the bottom.

Online Channels = The 7 different ways visitors can arrive on your website. Most common channels are as follows:

  • Direct Channel = Visits that arrive on your website in which the user typed in your website name directly or from a bookmark they put on their computer or phone.
  • Organic Search Channel = Visits that arrive on your website from clicks on links in the non-paid section of search engine results (the 10 links below the map).
  • Referral Channel = Visits that arrive on your website from a link on another website.
  • Social Network Channel = Visits that arrive on your website from any of approximately 400 social networks.
  • Paid Channel = Visits that arrive on your website from paid ads on the Google Ads Search Network or other search engines.
  • Display Channel = Visits that arrive on your website from banner ads placed on other websites.
  • Other Channel = Visits that arrive on your website from miscellaneous ways including email and marketing campaigns.

On-Page Optimization

On-page Optimization = All strategies taken within the content of your website to improve how Google and other search engines perceive the quality of the website. These include the following terms: 

Fresh Content = Content that is new and gives people a reason to continue to visit your website. 

Competitive Keyword Rankings = The measure of the effectiveness of keywords optimized for your site compares against your competitors’ rankings. The chart provides the opportunity for re-optimizing or adding new pages to outrank your competitors.

Off-Page Optimization

Off-page Optimization = All strategies related to building your website’s authority. These strategies are focused on building links FROM other websites to your website to build authority. This can be a time consuming process if done correctly. 

Backlinks = Your website URLs (web page) placed strategically on other websites that point back to your website.

Technical Optimization

Mobile Friendly = Your website is easy to use and read on a mobile device. In light of recent changes on Google, in order to rank well, your site must be mobile friendly (have a responsive design – see below).

Responsive Design = Websites that are programmed to detect the visitor’s screen size and orientation and change the layout accordingly.

Google Analytics Terminology


  • Sessions = The number of times visitors are actively engaged on your website or app.
  • New Users = Internet users who have not previously or recently visited your site.


  • Bounce Rate (%) = The percentage of times visitors view only one page of your website before leaving.
  • Avg Session Duration = The average length of visitors’ sessions in a month’s period.
  • Page Views/Session = The average number of pages viewed during a session within a month’s period.
  • Conversions = An action taken on your website that you’ve defined as valuable to your business (i.e., completing a form, watching a video).
  • Visits from Devices = Breakdown of site visits by device type used — desktop vs. mobile vs. tablet.

There are more SEO terms we can add to this glossary of digital marketing terms. If you wonder about other definitions, add them to the comments below and we’ll try to answer them.