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2022 Digital Marketing Glossary (Updated for 2023)

by Joshua Reynolds - October 13, 2022
Digital marketing is a fast-paced, highly technical field—every day there are new techniques, methods, and terminology. This essential digital marketing glossary features terms from digital marketing practices like SEO, PPC, and web development. 

JTech’s digital marketing team is excited to help our customers decipher complicated or opaque digital marketing terms—helping your digital marketing knowledge and business grow. Check out our team's digital marketing glossary of critical terms and definitions below. 

Use our digital marketing glossary to demystify technical jargon, abbreviations, and acronyms to stay up-to-date with digital marketing trends. 

Digital Marketing

Digital marketing (also called online marketing) is an element of marketing that optimizes digital mediums and tactics to reach customers and promote their product or service through channels such as website marketing, SEO, PPC, social media banner ads, etc.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a practice to prove a site's credibility and relevance to enhance a website’s visibility in a search engine results page. Effective SEO strategies include implementing relevant keywords, up-to-date meta, backlinking, blog posts, local mentions, responsive web design, and creating high-quality content. SEO makes sure that the right people see the right content at the right time. 


Keywords are words or phrases that communicate the subject of content on a page and allow results to be categorized for search queries. Keywords help search engines establish the content of a site and populate the search results with content that matches the keywords and intent of a user.

Keyword Difficulty (KD)

Keyword Difficulty (KD) indicates how hard ranking for any given keyword will be—from easy (0 KD) to difficult (100 KD). KD scores are calculated based on the number of other sites attempting to rank for the specific keyword. 

Search Volume

Search volume is the number of times a keyword or phrase has been searched for in a search engine  such as  Google within a defined timeframe.


Visibility is the share of traffic that a website receives based on organic search engine results page rankings. Visibility rankings are calculated on a keyword-by-keyword basis.


Backlinks are links from other sites that point to a webpage. Search engines see these links as ‘votes’ in favor or confidence of a website, proving that a site is credible in the area it claims to be a resource for.

Link Building

Link building is the process of acquiring backlinks from other websites. Link building is an SEO technique that can increase your chances of showing for relevant searches by increasing your website's perceived authority. JTech uses link building as a service deliverable as part of a comprehensive SEO strategy for our customers.

Domain Authority (DA)

Domain Authority (DA) is a measurement that SEO analysts use to represent how well a website is to rank for the keywords that website is optimized for. Domain authority is calculated by combining backlinks, website accessibility, Google’s web core vitals, page load speed, content freshness, mobile responsive design, etc. All domain authority scores are represented as a number between 0-100 (0 being the worst and 100 the best).

Qualified Traffic

Qualified traffic comes from visitors who are very likely to become customers based on how their areas of interest fit within a company’s ideal customer or lead. Higher numbers of qualified traffic will lead to higher rates of conversion. Qualified leads can be targeted by curating keyword lists for specific markets.  

Search Engine Results Page (SERP)

The search engine results page (SERP) is the page of results displayed to a user after their search has been completed. The results displayed on the SERP are based on the keywords and intent each search engine algorithm determines to be behind the search query.

Search Rankings

Search rankings are the order of listings that appear for a specific search or query. The particular position of each webpage on the search engine results page (SERP) is based on each search engine algorithm's ranking factors. Some of those factors often include security, accessibility, page load speed, mobile responsiveness, domain authority, user experience, and various other factors.


Crawling is how search engines scan and categorize websites using bots. Bots read over website content to learn and index information about a website. That information is typically based on the keywords used in the on-page copy.

Branded Keywords

Branded Keywords are words or phrases directly associated with a brand, its product, and its services. Typically they contain specific names or terms (i.e. company names).

Local Queries

Local queries are searches that search engine algorithms believe to be based in a specific location. 'Restaurants near me,' and 'oil change shop' are considered local queries. Local queries will have priority over national/non-localized results. 

Seed Keywords

Seed Keywords are short-tail keywords, usually composed of one or two words. Seed keywords typically do not have modifiers and tend to have high search volume and competition. Seed keywords are often used to direct the focus of a digital marketing campaign’s long tail keywords. 

For example, seed keywords for a digital marketing agency typically would include ‘SEO’ and ‘digital marketing.’ 

Short-Tail Keywords

Short-tail keywords are short search phrases potential customers typically use earlier in their journey. They are typically 1-3 words and have high search volume.  Short-tail key words often provide less direct ROI than short tail keywords. Instead, they help websites rank higher for all keywords in their niche—including long-tail and local keywords.

Long-Tail Keywords

Long-tail keywords are search phrases potential customers use that are longer than short-tail or seed keywords—usually 3-6 words in length. Customers typically use long-tail keywords during voice-text search or when they’re approaching conversion. While long-tail keywords do have lower search volume, they’re often just as valuable as higher volume keywords.

Local Keywords

Local Keywords are keywords that include location mentions or location specific composition. Both short and long-tail keywords can have local variations that appear in a slightly different order depending on the community that’s using them for search. Local keywords work within Google’s local algorithms and help influence ranking in Google map packs and for local searches—typically ones that include ‘best,’ ‘near me,’ or ‘close’ as modifiers to normal searches.

Organic Search

Organic search results drive unpaid traffic to websites. Organic results are composed of the links that appear on the search engine results page (SERP) naturally or algorithmically based on relevance, content, quality, search terms, and other ranking factors. Organic results can be boosted with concerted SEO efforts from a dedicated marketing team.


Blogs are collections of informational content within a website designed to educated readers. Blogs are a great way from businesses to share updates, give advice, or prove expertise. If blogs are properly optimized, they can help a site rank higher on the search engine results page (SERP) and build website authority. Visit our blog for a great example.

Google Local Pack

The Google local pack appears as a list of three businesses next to a map at the top of the search engine results page (SERP). Google local packs appear in response to a search query that Google decides as ‘local enough’—often a search that includes ‘best’ or ‘near me.’  Google populates local packs with the top three businesses it believes are most relevant to your search.

Featured Snippet

Featured snippets are snippets of information dense and keyword rich text that answer the user's query and show up at the top of Google's Search results. Having content featured in a snippet means Google considers your site as an authority on the topic. Featured snippets are often written in a question and answer format in both website copy and on the SERP.


Metadata is data that provides information about other data on your website. So, an image will include metadata that tells your website that it is an image, the type of image it is, and the size of that image. Likewise, websites have metadata that tells search engines about the type of website they are. Website metadata includes a meta description, a meta title, and meta keywords.  

Google and other search engines use webpage metadata to populate their search results. 

Meta Titles

Meta descriptions are a website metadata tag that names the content and use of a webpage in under 60 characters. Meta titles are the very first point of information a search engine recieves about your webpages content so they should be short, engaging, and to the point. Meta titles appear as the clickable links on the search engine results page (SERP).

Meta Descriptions

Meta descriptions are a website metadata tag that summarizes the content of the webpage in under 170 characters. Meta descriptions used to determine the exact description under the page title on Google’s search engine results page. Now, meta descriptions only help influence how Google displays your webpages in search.

Meta Keywords

Meta keywords are a website metadata tag that provides relevant keywords to search engine algorithms. Currently, meta keywords are best used for internal reference as a way to organize and associate keywords with their relevant pages. Meta keywords no longer provide any SEO value to the webpages they’re associated with.

Rich Snippet

Rich snippets are the short descriptions shown to users beneath site links in search results. Typically, rich snippets include the keywords used to search or the specific info being looked for. The content in rich snippets can be influenced by a pages meta description. Relevant rich snippets typically improve click-thru rates.

Uniform Resource Locator (URL)

A uniform resource locator (URL) is a distinctive web address registered by businesses and individuals to associate with unique websites. In most cases, the more targeted a URL is to your businesses vertical the better it's click-through-rate will be. JTech's customers can register new URLs in My JTech, our custom content management system (CMS).

Alt Text

Alt text is text that describes an image. Alt text is often hidden in the code of a website—only appearing if an individual uses a screen reader, if an image fails to load, or if that image is being read by a search engine.

Header Tags

Header pages are a type of HTML tag that define the hierarchy of content on any give webpage. Header tags improve both readability and SEO. Notably, you should never have more than one first level header tag (H1) on each webpage.

Key Performance Indicators (KPI)

Key performance indicators (KPI) are integral values that specify progress towards a concrete and measurable goal. KPI’s provide direction for strategic decision making and can be used to analyze performance over time.

Anchor Text

Anchor text is the text displayed in a custom hyperlink. Anchor text is often formatted in a different color, with an underline, or both to differentiate it from the rest of your copy. For example the anchor text for the following hyperlink to our digital marketing page is 'digital marketing page.'


Index is another name for the databases search engines use to generate search results. Search engines crawl thousands of pages a second—collecting information and storing it in indexes. For this reason, website changes often do not effect search results until a month or more after any changes are made.

Responsive Web Design (RWD)

Responsive Web Design (RWD) is a modern web design approach that lets the websites and pages display differently depending on the screen size and orientation of the device they're displayed on.

Web App

A web app is a web-based tool that can help automate a task, record information, or enhance collaboration (and much more). To be a true web app, your app must run in browser and be accessible from most devices. 


Amplification refers to distributing your site's content across many different online medias—ultimately increasing traffic. Common amplification techniques include running press releases, announcing new content on social media, and guest posting on other websites.


Arbitrage is a marketing tactic where advertisers pay for search ads that link to a page on their website full of affiliate links or pay-per-click (PPC) ads that make them money.


A Sitemap is a file list of all of URLs on a site and the relationships between them.  Sitemaps provide a blueprint of your websites pages and links which helps search engines understand which pages are important on your site and to show the most important and relevant information is to users.

Web Design

Web design describes the process of creating a layout, UI, and content your customers interact with. Great website design draws attention and incorporates a brands voice in a way that and holds it with an unmistakeable and engaging.

Template Site Builder

A template site builder is a service that provides pre-made website's that can be customized to fit the needs of a business without writing code. While template site builders can be convenient but they often lock many major features behind a paywall, don't offer much customization, and perform poorly on the search engine results page (SERP).

Website Development

is the process of writing code and creating or sourcing assets to create a website that matches your initial website design as closely as possible. Depending on your project, web development can be as simple as a blog page or as complex as a web-app based pharmacy ordering system.

Structured Data

Structured data is a standardized way to provide Google’s search algorithm with information about any given page and its content. Google uses a recipe page as an example, where structured data would be used to differentiate ingredients from cook time, recipe steps, nutritional information, etc.

Thorough structured data helps Google find the information it needs faster—improving search rankings.


Robots.txt is a text file that is used to tell search engine crawlers which URL’s they can access on a website. 

Website Management

Site management is the ongoing process of maintaining, securing, organizing, and developing a website's code/content to improve SEO and to support marketing efforts.

Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)

Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) are mobile-friendly pages that use an HTML format designed specifically to help web pages load faster on a mobile device.

IP Address

IP addresses are a unique combination of characters that act as identification for each computer communicating over a network. You can think of your computer's IP address like a phone number.

Server-side rendering (SSR)

Server-Side Rendering (SSR) is a more common development technique that allows a web browser to submit a request for info from a server. The server then responds with the requested web content.

The majority of all websites are built using SSR. 

Client-side rendering (CSR)

Client-Side Rendering (CSR) is a technique web developers use to make a website render entirely in the browser with JavaScript. CSR is difficult to do well, but it's necessary for many apps and app like websites that function offline. 

White Hat SEO

White Hat SEO includes tactics used to improve your search rankings that comply with the terms and conditions of a search engine. These methods focus on providing the best content and experience for your users rather than the algorithm. JTech is a white hat SEO agency.

Black Hat SEO

Black Hat SEO refers to practices that violate search engine terms and conditions, Black Hat SEO practices often focus on manipulating the search engine’s ranking algorithm. Black Hate SEO carries a penalty of a site's suspension and/or ban. Some Black Hat SEO strategies include hidden text, hidden links, keyword stuffing, and cloaking.

Bait and Switch

A Bait and switch content entices a customer with an attractive offer that disappears once that customer clicks. Bait and switch is categorized as a Black Hat SEO tactic and can also be implemented by adding high-ranking content and then removing that content once the ideal ranking is achieved.


Cloaking entails presenting different content or URLs to human users vs the search engines. It provides alternate results to what the user expects so it is a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. Cloaking is a Black Hat SEO tactic.

Keyword Stuffing

Keyword stuffing is when a webpage is loaded with keywords or numbers without content to manipulate a site’s ranking in search results, one of the oldest spam tactics in the books. Keyword stuffing carries penalties that negatively affect search rankings.

Comment Spam

Comment spamming is when bots, users, or trolls will leave comments on a post to gain more traffic by linking back to an unrelated site—building bad backlinks. The Google algorithm and other search engines have developed ways to effectively weed out spam comments from legitimate ones. 

Let Us Know What Terms You'd Like to See in Our Digital Marketing Glossary

The JTech Communications' team hopes this extensive digital marketing glossary streamlines the often confusing journey into the world of digital marketing.

If there's a digital marketing term not featured in our glossary or if you would like to partner with our team, reach out! Our digital marketing team would love to chat.

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