Digital Dictionary – Demystified Digital Jargon

digital dictionary

Having trouble telling your SEO from your SSL? Fear not! We’ve compiled an ever-growing list of demystified digital jargon to keep you on the straight and narrow. Select the letter below for the term you need help with.

A/B Testing

A technique used to test the impact of a digital design change. Two versions of the same page or interface are shown over a defined period to see which version should be properly implemented based on the one with the best results.

AdWords

A Google Product that allows placement of advertisements in the Google Search results for specific keywords.

Algorithm

A mathematical formula used to solve complex calculations based on a number of set variables. From a digital standpoint, algorithms are used by search engines to determine the ranking of website pages to display based on a specific keyword query.

Alt Text

Alternate information (metadata) provided in a web page which is shown when the object it describes cannot be shown or seen (e.g. an image). Alt text is useful for search engines to understand the content easier.

Anchor link

A website link that directs the user to another location on the same page. These are usually used to navigate long lists, such as at the top of this page!

API

Application Programming Interface (API). A means of communication between various pieces of software. This allows the User Interface (UI) of a digital product to be more separate from the systems it draws data from, allowing better customisations of the design with the end user in mind.

App

Application. A specific piece of software that performs an end to end function. Most commonly associated with ‘mobile apps’ on smartphones but apps can be used on any device.

Back Link

A term to describe a link from a 3rd party website back to your own. Backlinks are used to improve SEO. The more 3rd party websites that link to a page on your website, the more important it is generally considered in search engine algorithms and therefore the higher result.

Blog

A ‘website log‘, shortened to ‘blog‘ is a collection of chronological articles usually navigable by date, author, category or tag. Blogs historically are popular by individuals as a personal journal but more and more becoming a key part of a business website to give a business credibility in their field and to improve Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).

Bounce Rate

A website metric used to indicate the percentage of people that arrived on a page of your website but then did no further action. In most cases, you want to lower your bounce rate on your web pages as much as possible, unless of course, you are confident that the page is the only (or final) page you want people to visit.

Breadcrumbs

A navigation element used to indicate the location a user is within a website (e.g. home > category > sub-category). Breadcrumbs help people know where they are and allow them to find their way back again.

Broad Match

Broad match relates to a keyword match condition that triggers a search result (typically search ads). Broad match settings help you reach the widest audience, but not necessarily always the right audience. Other types of matching criteria are Phrase match, Exact match and Negative match.

Browser

Web browser. A software application on your device (Phone, PC or Tablet) that allows you to view websites. e.g. Google Chrome is now the world’s most popular browser. Other types are Safari (Apple) and Internet Explorer.

Canonical URL

An SEO related term which allows a website owner to tell a search engine the appropriate version of a page to recognise as the original when there are unavoidable duplicate versions of that page likely to occur on the same website. Having duplicate content results in poor SEO so specifying a canonical URL prevents this from happening.

Cloaking

A technical SEO practice which presents a different URL to search engines and users when technical reasons prevent showing the URL in its original format. Cloaking is often used to present sub-domains as belonging to the primary domain. E.g. blog.yourwebsite.com could look like yourwebsite.com/blog. This allows your sub-domain content to obtain the same ‘domain authority’ as your primary domain which could otherwise take years to build up.

CMS

Content Management System (CMS). This is software used to manage the files and control settings required to run a website. WordPress is a popular open source CMS originally used for blogging but serves many websites today (including this one!).

Content

A broad term used to describe the information or substance contained within a website for its users. E.g. written text, images, video, music etc. Quality unique content is an important attribute of a website to perform well.

Cookie

A piece of information sent by a website and stored on a users computer via the web browser. A cookie is generally in the form of a 1×1 pixel image and allows a visible trail of where the user has been. Cookies are most often used to target advertising based on what website people have visited. It also allows users settings to be saved in the browser so that a website remembers them when they return. Users have the option to turn off cookies on their browser.

CPA

Cost Per Application (CPA). A digital advertising metric which is the cost of digital advertising required to generate one completed sale or lead. Reducing the CPA means your advertising is becoming more effective.

CPC

Cost Per Click (CPC). A key digital advertising metric which is the cost charged by a publisher to advertise on their website based on a user clicking on an ad. This is usually driven by how competitive the ad placement is and can vary from click to click. So an average CPC is generally given as the reported measure.

CPM

Cost Per Impression (CPM). A less common digital advertising metric usually calculated in 1000 units. It is the cost of getting your ad exposed to a set quantity of people. Brands may wish to use this approach to get their name out there vs a CPC approach which would be more sales driven.

CRO

Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO). The practice of lowering the advertising costs but obtaining the same business result (e.g. Sales/Leads).

CSS

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). A key fundamental programming language used to controls the visual layout or User Interface (UI) of a digital-based design. The CSS will contain the available attributes (fonts, colours, spacing, etc) that the design can use to display information in a consistent manner.

CTA

Call to Action (CTA). Typically a button, phone number or form which prompts a user to take action towards a sale or an application.

Display Ads

Digital advertising that is more graphical in nature, often known as banner ads. These can come in various sizes either animated or static although standard sizes are typically used across major websites so one display ad creative can be used on a variety of websites.

DNS

Domain Name System. This allows the connection between the websites native IP address (e.g. 255.255.345.23) with the registered domain name (e.g. www.yourdomain.com.au)

Domain

The commonly known location or address where your website resides. The domain is your real estate on the web. e.g. www.yourwebsite.com

Domain Authority

The value that is given to your domain (e.g. www.yourdomain.com.au) by a search engine based on the usefulness, quality or importance it determines your website to be. Government websites, for instance, are generally granted a higher domain authority.

Duplicate Content

Relates to an SEO issue where two versions of the same page or content are published on the web. A search engine will penalise the version it believes is a copy of the original by not including it in the search results. To avoid this a canonical URL is generally used when duplicate content cannot be avoided to instruct search engines as to which is to be used as the original version.

Exact Match

Exact match relates to a keyword match condition that triggers a search result (typically search ads). Exact match settings are most strict and only display results matching the exact phrase, or a re-ordering of words if it doesn’t change the meaning. Exact match searches are surrounded by square brackets. e.g. [keyword]. Other types of matching criteria are Phrase match, Exact match and Negative match.

Forum

An interactive website where users can discuss topics amongst themselves or solve various problems for each other in a peer-to-peer fashion where the website owner simply manages the forum.

GA

Google Analytics (GA). Software offered by Google to monitor traffic to your website. Offered free for small sites with premium features available to be purchased for more sophisticated corporate style sites or those with higher traffic.

Google Search Console

Formerly Google Webmaster Tools. Software offered by Google to monitor and adjust the health and performance of your website in the eyes of Google.

Hamburger Menu

A design element consisting of three short horizontal lines (looking arguably like a hamburger). This is a design convention used to indicate a navigation menu will appear after interacting with it.

Hashtag

A symbol ‘#‘ used universally to categorise and link similarly themed content across a range of different sources, such as articles in a blog, instagram or twitter for example.

Hit

A colloquial term that was used to describe a visitor to a website. These days it is best associated with a page view of your website.

Hosting

A service provided to allow website files to be accessible on the internet to end users. A hosting provider will charge a monthly or annual fee to store these files on their servers and deal with the varying volumes of traffic that come through. Host providers are responsible for uptime of the website and being able to cope with the agreed volume of traffic the website is due to receive.

HTML

Hyper Text Markup Language (HTML). The standard programming language used to build websites and web applications. Together with CSS and Javascript, these languages are what most interfaces on the world wide web comprise of.

HTTP

Hyper Text Transfer Protocol (HTTP). The fundamental protocol or data communication language that operates over the world wide web.

Hyperlinks

Areas of a web page that allow a user to follow for more information on a specific topic. Hyperlinks can take people anywhere on the web using the relevant URL.

Impression

A digital advertising measure used to indicate the number of people who have seen your ad. Impressions is also known as reach and is used to improve brand recognition.

Information Architecture

The structure of the content appearing on a website. This includes the categorisation of the information, the navigation labels and all the attributes of each page such as metadata, titles, and a list of keywords it is intended to rank for.

Internet

The global system of connected computers using the acknowledged communication protocols (such as http) to connect computer devices.

IP Address

Internet Protocol (IP) Address. The numerical value assigned to a device that is connected to the internet. The IP address is essentially the technical location of something on the internet. It comprises a sequence of numbers pinpointing the location of a website, device or other internet connected object.

Javascript

A fundamental programming language used in websites and web applications typically used to make them more interactive.

Keyword

Used to describe a word or phrase that is typed into a search engine to obtain a set of relevant results to that keyword.

Landing Page

A page on a website that is designed to be a popular entry point. This is often the homepage but also pages which receive lots of traffic through advertising.

Link Juice

A term used to apply to the value a web page has to give away from a search perspective. Every link on a page passes on a portion its search equity (aka ‘link juice’). If a page has a value of 10 points and has 10 links on its page it will pass off 1 point per link. Web pages may apply no-follow links which excludes them from passing on link juice. These values, however, are all arbitrary and factored into search algorithms. For example, a website with a high domain authority (e.g An established Government site) with a page that has a high page rank (e.g. its homepage) will pass on a higher amount of link juice than a new one-page small business website.

Long Tail Search

Refers to a practice of focusing advertising or search optimisation efforts on targeting a long list of less frequently searched keywords. As a whole, the long list provides a valuable source of traffic that may be less competitive. Advertising costs for long tail keywords are by definition lower but can produce the same results (as a whole) compared to focusing on the most popular keywords on a topic.

MetaData

General term for any information on a website passed behind the scenes, typically to search engine crawlers and not really visible to the human users via the browser.

Meta Description

Information passed by a webpage behind the scenes, typically to search engine crawlers, to give a summary of the information contained on the page. This description is often shown in the search results snippet to help users understand the information on the page. So the meta description is best written for search engines and people to read.

Negative match/keyword

Negative match relates to a keyword match condition that triggers a search result (typically search ads). Negative match settings will exclude certain results related to the negative keyword. For example, a men’s shoe seller who doesn’t sell women’s shoes will want to exclude women’s shoe searches from displaying their ad. Negative match searches are preceded by a minus sign. e.g. “-keyword”. Other types of matching criteria are Phrase match, Exact match and Negative match.

News Feed

A list of articles from various sources compiled together for a user based on topics they may be directly or indirectly interested in. Facebook is likely the most popular form of a news feed.

No Follow

A search parameter that instructs a search engine not to follow the link supplied on the webpage. This is often used when the webpage does not want to give any value (in terms of SEO) to the page it is linking to. This might be used when the website wants to pass all it’s ‘link juice’ via links to its own website.

Organic Search

The results provided by a search engine which are not influenced by advertising dollars but purely on the search engines relevance algorithm. Organic search performance takes longer to build up but is longer lasting compared with digital advertising.

PageRank

The value on a scale of 1-10 patented by Google and given to a particular website and its pages based on how well they address the criteria for its search algorithm. 10 is the highest possible score available.

Page View

A key website measurement indicator that shows how many pages of a website were viewed/downloaded by users over a period of time.

Phrase Match

Phrase match relates to a keyword match condition that triggers a search result (typically search ads). Phrase match settings won’t return results if a word is added to the middle of the phrase, or if words in the phrase are reordered in any way. Phrase match searches are surrounded by inverted commas. e.g. “keyword”. Other types of matching criteria are Phrase match, Exact match and Negative match.

Pixel

The smallest controllable element in a digital screen. The smaller the pixels on a screen the sharper the image will be. Retina displays, for example, are designed to avoid the user being able to detect pixels.

Podcast

A pre-recorded audio file that is often episodic in nature often geared around a particular topic or person. Podcasts are easily distributed over the internet and provide a cheaper production process that a video, particularly if the bulk of the content is conversation or discussion.

PPC

Pay Per Click (PPC). The general description that is given to a payment model surrounding digital advertising. This is when the advertiser only pays when a click is made on the ad.

Product Manager

The person responsible for setting the roadmap, acquiring the budget and delivering the business goals for a digital product or application. In some situations, the Product Manager and Product Owner will be the same role.

Product Owner

The person responsible for coordinating the development cycles of a digital property (website, app etc) in line with its business goals as set by the Product Manager. In some situations, the Product Manager and Product Owner will be the same role.

Quality Score

The score given by AdWords to the connection or relevance between the keyword entered, the ad displayed and the eventual website landing page. The closer the connection (in regards to keywords) between these three items the higher the quality score that is given. This helps during the ad placement ‘auction’ allowing a higher rank to be obtained for a lower cost.

Reach

A digital advertising metric to describe the number of people an advertisement was exposed to. This is also referred to as impressions, but reach is more likely used as an aggregate measure of impressions over multiple websites.

Remarketing

A digital advertising technique which allows a user to be targeted with advertising after visiting a particular website. Remarketing uses the cookie placed on a users browser by the publisher.

Responsive Design

A digital design technique that allows one version of a web page to change it’s layout and interaction behaviour to suit the device it is being displayed on. Typically between Desktops/PCs and mobile phones.

ROAS

Return on Ad Spend (ROAS). Similar to ROI, the return on revenue obtained from the advertising dollars sent.

Robots.txt

A hidden file contained on a website that instructs the search engine to ignore particular pages or sections of the website from being indexed.

ROI

Return on Investment (ROI). Similar to ROAS, the return on revenue obtained from the advertising dollars sent.

RSS Feed

Rich Site Summary (RSS). A way of extracting the key information from a website (typcially a blog) and exposing the information in a different location or website in a custom design. The feed is kept up to date in real time so any changes made to the content will be updated automatically and immediately.

Schema

Like Metadata, a Schema is an agreed set of values a website can apply to its information so it can be interpreted better by 3rd party services and displayed in a more user-friendly format. E.g movie session times for a cinema in a certain location. Using the correct schema, search results will return well-formatted session times directly in the search results. Schema specifications are contained at schema.org

Search engine

A key aspect of navigating the world wide web. A search engine uses web crawling robots to keep a copy of most websites on the web (known as its index). The search engine then returns results from its index to the users it feels are most relevant to the search query. The results form part of the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) where various information can be presented (including ads) relevant to the keyword entered. The most popular search engine on the web is Google although others exist such as Bing, Yandex (Russia) and Baidu (China).

SEM

Search Engine Marketing (SEM). A term often used to describe Search Advertising although SEM is actually a broader term including search advertising, organic search optimisation (SEO) and Social Media Optimisation (SMO).

SEO

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). Most often used to focus on improving the organic (aka. unpaid or natural) performance of a website in search results. Improving SEO allows long-term gains in website traffic to be had at a lower cost. SEO is often viewed as free however, a lot of work needs to go towards SEO so the costs can be high in copywriting and time spent researching areas of optimisation. Although no direct payments are able made to search engines to improve SEO.

SERP

Search Engine Results Page (SERP). The list of results supplied by a search engine after entering a query. This could contain organic results and paid results along with other features (e.g. maps) to help the user navigate the results.

Sessions

A website measurement value used to show how many actual interactions the website has had over a period of time. Each session is measured from when a person enters the website and then leaves. One person may have many sessions over a period of time.

Site Link

A feature on a search result where specific sections of a website are accessible via their own link. These links will sit below the main search result link but are often used for getting users to where they want to get quicker. Google determines the Site Links these days (previously these were configurable) so it is important to have a well structured Information Architecture, Sitemap.xml and Metadata.

Sitemap.xml

A somewhat hidden file provided in a website that indicates the pages and the hierarchy of the content so that it is better understood by search engines.

Slug

A term used to describe the name of the page as it should appear in the URL. This appears as the last part of the core URL. E.g yourdomain.com/category/page-slug.html

SMO

Social Media Optimisation (SMO). Practices focused on boosting the presence of a website and brand in social media channels.

Social Media

Websites and applications that allow interaction among fellow users and allow the sharing of information such as comments, photos, videos and other website content. Popular social media sites being Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Source

Used to describe in measurement terms where traffic has come from for a website. This could be organic search, paid search, direct traffic, Social or other website referral.

Spam

A general term to describe practices attempting to distribute large quantities of email or other internet messages often for little to no value or even malicious purposes. The word spam comes from the canned meat given its low quality, low cost and commonality.

SSL

Secure Socket Layer (SSL). SSL is the standard security layer used to protect data transmitted between a web server and your browser. An SSL Certificate is used to apply this security to the server transmissions. An SSL Certificate is indicated by a HTTPS prefix to a URL and is now shown quite visibly in Chrome browsers via the green padlock icon.

Style Guide

Specifications of a digital design to achieve consistency including fonts, colours, icons but also the different design patterns and their interaction behaviour. A style guide makes the design consistent making it easier to use. It also makes the design process more efficient as designers don’t need to start designing from scratch each time.

Tag

A way of classifying information usually in a blog so that all articles with a specific tag can be viewed together. Tags are often displayed visually using the hashtag “#” symbol.

Thread

The name that is given to the conversation that occurs in an online forum, social media or message service.

Tracking Code

A parameter applied to a link or other interactive element within a digital design that allows it to be reported on over time.

Troll

A term used to describe a person on a forum or social media who persistently bullies, defames or undermines other people in the forum, usually anonymously.

UI

User Interface (UI). The term used to describe the visual representation of a digital application. This is the part the user interacts with.

URL

Uniform Resource Locator (URL). Commonly known as the website address. This is the unique location of a web page that is visible in the location field in a web browser (e.g. http://www.yourdomain.com.au/category/your-web-page.html).

User-Generated Content (UGC)

Digital applications that allow information to be uploaded to the system by its users. This could be in the comments field in a blog or in social media sites which consist mainly of user-generated content.  The website provides the platform and specifications for the content that is allowed to be uploaded.

Users

The people who use a digital application or website and are often also the target audience that is being designed for.

UX

User Experience (UX). The practice of design that focuses primarily on making it as easy as possible to solve a users problem. UX most commonly is used when designing for a digital interface, yet it is much broader than that. UX focuses on psychology, design principles, business goals and technical limitations to create the most optimal design possible that solves the overall problem for the intended user.

Viral

A term used most often in social media when a piece of content is shared exponentially based on its popularity.

Virus

A malicious piece of software designed to corrupt a device for data theft, ransom or terrorism means.  A virus can do untold damage and is created and distributed by criminals via the internet.

Visit

A visit is a web analytic term to describe a person arriving at a website. A Unique Visit would describe the number of different people arriving at the web page over a specific time. For example, 1 person could visit over 100 web pages of a website in a given period, however, the website’s analytics would only ever record 1 unique visit for this activity.

Vlog

A term used to describe the actions of a person who predominantly focuses on the creation of video content within an existing platform like Youtube or Facebook.

Web 2.0

A term used to describe the wave of changes that occurred in the world wide web that made it more interactive for users. This change occurred in around 2004/5 with the advent of sites like Facebook.

Web Crawler

An automated robot created by search engines to scour the world wide web and collect and make sense of all the web pages in order to return meaningful results for search engine users.

Website

A visible, tangible and branded location (domain) on the world wide web. The domain relates to the location of the website (e.g. www.yourdomain.com.au) yet the website is what a user actually sees when they go to that domain.

Wireframe

A digital design technique that sketches the rough layout of a digital design without the appropriate colours or fonts applied so that the layout can be determined early and tested with prospective users.

WordPress

A CMS that is commonly used to build and design websites. WordPress is open source software and has a developer community that produces plug-ins and design themes to support the platform, some of which are free and others that are paid for. WordPress offers two setup options

  1. WordPress.com which will host your website and you can launch a website in minutes but limited functionality, or
  2. WordPress.org where you download the CMS (for free) but then need to install it on a hosting provider for it to be accessible on the web. This is the more customisable option.

World Wide Web (WWW)

Better known now as just the web. The world wide web is the space where vast amounts of information are contained within websites. Over a billion websites exist on the web today.

XML

EXtensible Markup Language (XML). A format of information that in it’s most basic form so that it can be interpreted by a wider variety of applications.

Yoast SEO

Yoast is a popular and somewhat essential plugin available in the WordPress CMS that assists in configuring the site to aid in Search Engine Optimisation.

@ symbol

The humble @ symbol first came to digital circles when it was used as the key attribute of an email address. Today it’s generally used to denote a user either in an email address ([email protected]) or to respond or notify a person in a digital messenger forum (@user).

301 Redirect

A written instruction that is given to a web browser and search engines that a web page has been permanently moved somewhere else. Typically used in SEO to maintain the rankings of pages that have moved to the new location. A 302 redirect is used for a temporary move of a page, often for campaigns.

404 Error

A message returned in a web browser when a page you have requested for a website cannot be found. Typically a 404 page is created by a website owner instructing the user what to do next.

Looking for something else?

Contact us if you need help deciphering any digital jargon not listed here. Sling Digital offers Australian small businesses a ‘tier 1’ digital service. Our goal is to build great relationships with a few trusted clients, working with them as an extension of their business, helping their business to grow.

If you are a small business needing help with anything digital related, we can help get you on a clear path to ongoing measurable success.

Call us on 0416 782 009 or email [email protected]m.au if you want to chat about how we can help your small business.

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