SEM Jargon- All The Acronyms You’ll Ever Need!

Below you’ll find a list of terms commonly used in the industry, you’ll notice that a lot of terms get reduced to acronyms (you’ll get used to that). I think it’s because we’re all too lazy busy to say everything properly.

Many of these terms are used on this site as well so if you see something and you didn’t quite know what it was/ meant chances are it will be on this list somewhere…

Aardvark OK, this isn’t something commonly referred to in search engine marketing and neither are there any mentions of aardvarks on this site, I just wanted to include it in my list, is that a crime?

Bing This is the current search engine from Microsoft. It was formally known as Live Search, Windows Live Search, and MSN Search and is advertised as a ‘decision engine’.

Black Hat This is a term commonly used by SEOs to describe way of working that doesn’t necessarily follow the guidelines provided by the search engines. Krishna opposite of White Hat (see below) and is something that’ll not going to go into in any more detail here as I would probably end up ranting.

Crawler A Web crawler is a computer program that browses the World Wide Web in a methodical, automated manner. It can also be known as a bot, or a spider.

Google A search engine. Recent figures suggest that Google is used to perform over 70% of all US web searches.

Google AdWords The advertising platform used to advertise on Google and their search partners.

Paid Search Also know as pay click advertising, see ‘pay per click’.

PPC See Pay Per Click.

Pay Per Click This can refer to the pricing structure used by some online channels to charge an advertiser each time a user clicks on the advertiser’s ad or PPC Advertising.

Quality Score This ‘score’ was created by Google to show to the advertiser how relevant Google AdWords believes the search term & ad are to the searchers query and it is used to ensure that the most relevant ads appear on Google and the Google Network.

Quality Index The Yahoo equivalent of Google’s quality score metric.

Robots.txt This is a file that is used to stop (cooperating) web spiders and other web robots from accessing all or part of a website which is otherwise publicly viewable in the search results. You can this site’s robots.txt file if you like (the only people who look at these for fun are usually coders or SEOs).

Search Engine This is a computer program that is designed to be used to search for websites/ documents or files on the internet.

SEM Search Engine Marketing is a form of Internet marketing used to promote websites by increasing their visibility in search engine result pages. The two main channels used in this field are search engine optimisation and pay per click advertising.

SEO Search Engine Optimisation/ Optimization. Optimising websites to improve their ranking/position in search engine results.

Spider See Crawler.

TLD “Top level domain” Main examples being .com , .co.uk etc. Organisations are now also taking advatange of country specific domains when creating URL shorteners or personalised URLs (i.e. bit.ly etc.).

URL Uniform Resource Locator – The address of a web page on the internet.

URL Shortener Service that makes a web page available under a very short URL in addition to the original address. Particularly useful when used on social platforms such as Twitter when there are character limits in place.

White Hat This is the opposite of Black Hat (see above) and is a description of the method or type of SEO who follows all the guidelines provided by the search engines when trying to rank their site(s).

Yahoo A company that provides an internet services. Most well known for it’s search engine and email service amongst other things.

Zebra Like aardvark, this isn’t something commonly referred to in search engine marketing but I wanted to include a word beginning with Z (Yes, I’m just fussy like that).

200 This is the HTTP status code for OK. Any code that is 2xx belongs to the class of codes that indicates the action requested by the client was received, understood, accepted and processed successfully.

301 HTTP code for a permanent redirect.

302 HTTP code for a temporary redirect.

404 HTTP code used to show that a page could not be found (You’ve probably seen a few of these before).

503 HTTP code used to indicate that the service is unavailable. This is usually seen when a site is down for maintenance. Any error that begin 5xx indicates a server error when it was unable to resolve a request.

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