20 Common Website Terms And Definitions You Should Know But Were Afraid To Ask

Once upon a time not that long ago internet marketing didn’t exist and advertising your business seemed a lot simpler. People advertised through more traditional methods such as newspaper ads, flyers, door to door salesmen and yes the Yellow Pages remember those? Back then you didn’t have to worry about things such as search engine results or social media campaigns.

Now we live in a different age where the internet rules all and is the first place customers will look when trying to find your product or service. The transition into the digital age for many is an ongoing learning process so having a little help along the way never hurts.

On that note here are 20 common website terms and definitions you may have heard thrown around but weren’t always sure what they meant.

1. SEO (Search Engine Optimization)– Refers to the process of optimizing your website through various techniques and strategies for the purpose of earning a higher ranking in search engines (ex. Google, Bing, MSN, Yahoo). SEO includes internal optimization of the website’s code along with external techniques such as link building from other websites.

2. SEM (Search Engine Marketing)– Search engine marketing differs slightly in meaning from SEO and covers a broader scope. Along with SEO techniques SEM can also include paid listings, pay-per-click advertising, social media marketing and anything else done with the purpose of bringing more exposure and traffic to your website.

3. PPC (Pay Per Click)– Stands for Pay-Per-Click which is online advertising people purchase to place their ads on other people’s websites or social media pages. With PPC you pay only when and if someone clicks on your ad and they actually visit your website. Popular PPC services are Google AdWords and Facebook Ads.

4. Search Engine –Search engines are large database programs that search documents for specified keywords and return information based on the terms selected. Google, Bing, MSN and Yahoo are examples of the world’s most used search engines. Technically speaking the term search engine doesn’t just refer to online use but any program that searches documents to return a search based on the keywords entered.

5. Server –A server can have multiple meanings but simply put can be referred to as a centralized computer(s) that provides data to various other computers. Types of servers can be a web server, file server, mail server or others. When you purchase services such as web hosting, email services or the internet they are working off an external server separate from the functionality of your own computer.

6. CMS (Content Management Systems)– CMS as it relates to the web is a program integrated into a website that allows you to update its content without the need for software or other web development tools. A CMS website also allows you to update your pages from any location with an internet connection. WordPress, Joomla and Drupal are considered as the most used CMS programs for websites.

7. ISP (Internet Service Provider)– Quite simply it means your Internet Service Provider. Your internet service provider in Canada could be Telus, Rogers or Shaw or it would be a different company in various other countries of the world.

8. Domain Name– The domain name refers to the actual physical name of your website for example (myname.com). A domain name must be purchased from a domain registry company and is rented not bought in yearly intervals. GoDaddy is recognized as one of the most well-known domain registry companies.

9. URL (Uniform Resource Locator) –Some people believe a URL and a domain name are the same thing but they actually have two separate meanings. A URL can be the full link to any page of a website whereas a domain name refers to the home or index page only. Each page of any website has its own unique URL.

10. Social Media –Social Media can be defined as websites created with the purpose of networking with others and sharing various content online. Social Media operates through a group of people who join or follow your network and you in turn do the same for them. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest are some examples of the world’s most used social media websites.

11: Social Bookmarking –Social bookmarking differs slightly from social media in terms of its function and purpose. Social bookmarking is information you share or post to a central website for many members to view. The main difference is you don’t exchange messages or interact with people directly the same way you do with social media websites. Popular social bookmarking sites include StumbleUpon and Digg.

12: Web Hosting –Web hosting is file space you purchase online which allows you to store your website files and publish them on the internet. Just like to build a house you first need a lot to publish a website you must first have a host. Hosting providers will “host” your website on their server and hosting plans are purchased in monthly or yearly intervals. In order for a website to function you need to own both a domain name and a web host to point it to.

13. SERP (Search Engine Results Page) –The SERP is the actual page of a search engine that returns the list of results based on the keywords entered. Search engines typically display organic search results on the main part of the page and paid listings on the top and right hand side of the page.

14. Spam– Spam is considered electronic junkmail sent to a mass group of email accounts or blogs and forums. Spam is often sent through an automated software program designed to send the same message to large group of people at once. Spam is usually created for the purpose of advertising or soliciting and is also used to try and boost search rankings and website traffic.

15. Meta Tags – Meta Tags are HTML tags inserted into your website that provide special information about your site for search engines to draw information. The two most relevant meta tags for any website are the keyword and description tags. The keyword metatag is used by search engines to identify which keywords you consider most important to your website. The description metatag is the text displayed in the SERP along with your domain name describing the details of your website.

16. Keywords – Keywords are words or phrases that describe various content within your website to search engines. Keywords are not just used in meta tags but also to describe images, titles, text files and database records on your page. Keywords can also to refer to descriptive terms you use for blog posts, social media posts, video posts and business directories.

17. Responsive Design –Responsive design is a website where the layout or structure of the page adjusts to fit the screen of whatever device you are using to view the page. That could be a desktop monitor, tablet, cell phone, video game console or any other browsing device. Responsive websites use a detection method that will first identify what type of device you are using then will display the proper format accordingly.

18. Favicon –A favicon is a small icon or image that is displayed within the browser tab of any website along with its page title. This is helpful when you have multiple pages open in a browser and you want to better identify which page is which. Not all websites have favicons but for websites that do the favicon is always displayed to the left of the website title.

19. Pagerank – Pagerank is part of Google’s official ranking system used on every existing website to evaluate its importance compared to other websites. Google ranks all websites on a scale of 1 to 10 based on a variety of factors including traffic, incoming links, quality of content and more. IBM, Apple and Google are all examples of websites with high Pageranks.

20. Analytics –Analytics in general term which refers to the analyzation of patterns and trends in the data being studied. As is relates to the web it is typically research compiled based on the viewing habits of a website’s users to let the owner know how their site is performing. The most popular form of Analytics is Google Analytics which lets you know important data including how many visitors you have, what pages are most popular, and what keywords people are using to find your website the most.


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