The small business digital marketing dictionary

4 MINS Team

Ever get confused when talking to a digital marketing strategist, SEO company, or Web designer/developer? Keep this digital marketing dictionary handy, and you won’t walk away scratching your head!

Alt Text: Short for “alternative text,” these are the words that you see in place of an image. It typically shows up in an email or blog post if the image is blocked by spam filters or fails to load if your Internet connection is slow.

Brand: What your company stands for – your values, what makes you different, what kind of emotions your company evokes. Your logo, website design, business card, and other visuals are only part of your brand.

Click-Through Rate (CTR): Percentage or number of people who click on a link to reach your website (usually from social media or email).

Content Calendar: The place (usually a spreadsheet) where you organize and map out the topics and types of content you want to share on social media and in your blog.

Earned Media, Owned Media, Paid Media

  • Earned media: Content created and shared by people who are not associated with your company/brand; it includes articles about your brand written by bloggers and mentions, shares, reposts, comments, and reviews on social media.
  • Owned media: The sliver of the Internet that represents your company; it includes your website and social media accounts.
  • Paid media: Advertising; it includes pay-per-click campaigns, display ads, advertorials and paid influencers/spokespeople, and retargeting.

Engagement: A measure of how well your content is being received by your audience. It is typically calculated by likes, shares, comments, opens, and click-throughs.

Keywords: The words and phrases people type into a search engine to find you.

Landing Page, Sales Page, Web Page

  • Landing Page: Any page on your website that you direct people to from another channel, like social media or email.
  • Sales Page: A page on your website that is specifically designed to sell a product or service; a website visitor can hit “buy” on that page.
  • Web Page: Any page on your website, no matter what its purpose is.

Meme: A cultural idea that spreads very quickly, like Grumpy Cat or Donald “A lot of people are switching to these really long putters, very unattractive” Trump’s hair.

Meta Description: A 160-character description of the information contained on a Web page or in a blog post. Writing these is part art and part science, but very important for SEO.

Parallax Scrolling: Very popular website design technique in which images change as you scroll down the page.

Plug-ins: A tool that you can add to your website to enhance its capabilities. For example, you can add the MailChimp plug-in to capture emails when someone fills out a form.

Pre-targeting: Figuring out what action someone is about to take and reaching out to them before they make a decision. It relies on predictive computing, which is still in its infancy.

Re-targeting: Reaching a potential customer (typically with a display ad) after they have already taken some sort of action, like visiting a certain page on your website.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO): The complex and technical process of ensuring a website and its pages can be found by search engines.

  • Search Ranking: The spot your website earns in a list of search results.
  • Search Results: The list of content a search engine pulls up when someone conducts a search for a certain word or phrase.

Social Advertising: Paying money to gain a wider reach for your social media content. For example, on Facebook, you can pay to promote a post or display an ad.

Social Influence: Making a positive impact on a lot of people; they trust you and listen very carefully to what you have to say.

URL (Uniform Resource Locator): The address of a Web page.

User Experience (UX): A website design and development technique that refers to the ability of a website visitor or app user to find what they need quickly.

User Interface (UI): Everything designed on an information device that a human interacts with, like a touch screen and a keyboard.

Widget: A small block (or box) on your website that has a certain function, like a newsletter signup form.

What did I miss? Do any other digital marketing terms stump you?

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Author information

Monika Jansen

Monika Jansen is a freelance copywriter and editor who helps with companies of all shapes on sizes kick their content up to the next level. You can find her online at

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