The Little Black Book of Marketing Acronyms

It can be hard to keep track of all the acronyms within the online marketing and search marketing industry. So we’ve put together a Little Black Book of Search Marketing Acronyms! A guide to all of the acronyms you might bump into on forums, in emails and in conversation on a daily basis. Whether you’re new to search or online marketing, or whether your SEO guy just sent you over an acronym-riddled email that you’re attempting to decrypt on your own, we’ve got 100 search marketing acronyms listed here in alphabetical order complete with basic definitions. Some aren’t necessarily to do with SEO or marketing specifically but are still handy acronyms to know in the search marketing industry.

100 Search Marketing Acronyms and Definitions

  1. A/B = A/B Testing

    A/B testing (also known as split testing) is an experiment comparing the conversion rates of two webpages (or ads/URLs/designs/copy/etc) with the same goal, to find which variant converts better.

  2. API = Application Programming Interface

    The API, in computer programming, allows programmers to use or share the specified functionalities of a piece of software for other programs, so that the program remains consistent with the original application. For example, displaying Tweets on a website using the Twitter API.

  3. ASO = App Store Optimisation

    ASO is the process of optimising a mobile app for search visibility in app stores such as Google Play or iTunes. The goal of ASO is increase the app’s search ranking position in the app store, to generate more downloads.

  4. B2B = Business To Business

    B2B refers to when one business provides a service or makes a commercial transaction with another business. In marketing jargon, you may often hear of B2B branding, B2B sales and B2B marketing.

  5. B2C = Business To Consumer

    B2C refers to when a business provides a service or makes a commercial transaction with a consumer (non-business).

  6. BH = Blackhat

    Blackhat in the marketing industry tends to specifically mean blackhat SEO, the high-risk process in which you may aggressively optimise a website for search using unethical tactics that Google could penalise you for if caught.

  7. BL = Backlink

    A backlink is an inbound link from another website.  The number of backlinks a webpage has usually indicates the popularity or authority of the webpage, and is therefore a ranking factor in Google’s search algorithm.

  8. BR = Bounce Rate

    The percentage of users who navigate off a website from their entrance page after having only viewed that page with no interaction. Bounce Rate does not equate to Exit Rate.

  9. CGM = Consumer Generated Media

    Consumer Generated Media is media uploaded online voluntarily by a brand or product’s consumers. They can include blog posts written by consumers about a product, Instagram pics of a product or even video reviews of a product uploaded to YouTube.

  10. CLV = Customer Lifetime Value

    CLV (also known as CLTV or User Lifetime Value) is the lifetime financial value of a customer as a predicted net profit attributed to them throughout the entire business-customer relationship.

  11. CMO = Chief Marketing Officer

    A CMO is a corporate executive in charge of the marketing activities within an organisation. They are responsible for leading their teams in growth, sales and marketing.

  12. CMS = Content Management System

    A CMS is an application that allows users to publish, edit and modify content collaboratively on a system. CMS’ (such as WordPress, Joomla and Ghost) are also widely used as blogging platforms or even to create entire websites.

  13. CPA = Cost Per Action

    CPA is an advertising pricing model where the advertiser pays for a specific action to be completed. e.g. a download, a form submit, user registration, etc.

  14. CPC = Cost Per Click

    CPC refers to an advertising pricing model where the advertiser pays per click through to the advertiser’s website from the ad. The CPC itself can vary depending on the ad network and their own terms (e.g. flat-rate, bid-based, etc).

  15. CPI = Cost Per Impression

    CPI is the cost incurred from each time an ad is displayed to a potential customer.

  16. CPL = Cost Per Lead

    CPL is an advertising pricing model where the advertiser will only pay for each lead generated from the ad.

  17. CPM = Cost Per Mille

    CPM (or Cost Per Thousand) is the cost incurred from each 1000 times an ad is displayed to a potential customer.

  18. CR = Conversion Rate

    CR is the percentage of visitors to a website or landing page that convert to customers.

  19. CRM = Customer Relationship Management

    CRM is a way of managing a company’s interactions with customers, usually using some sort of system that allows customer tracking through sales, marketing, customer service and technical support.

  20. CRO = Conversion Rate Optimisation

    CRO is improving factors of a website or landing page in order to increase the percentage of visitors that convert.

  21. CSS = Cascading Style Sheet

    CSS is a style sheet language that formats the design and appearance of a document in markup languages such as HTML. Through CSS you can change, for example, the appearance (like font size or colour) of a paragraph of text in HTML.

  22. CTA = Call To Action

    A CTA is an instruction with the intention of provoking an immediate response from the audience. On a website this could be a “Call Now!” or “Buy It Now” button, or something which takes the user further down the conversion funnel.

  23. CTR = Click Through Rate

    CTR is the percentage of visitors on a webpage who click on a link through to another webpage. It can be used as a way of measuring the effectiveness of an ad or even title, meta description and relevance in organic search.

  24. DA = Domain Authority

    DA is a website metric developed by Moz that determines a website’s authority score at domain level.

  25. DC = Data Centre

    A DC is a dedicated facility used by companies to operate the IT infrastructure that supports their business.

  26. DKI = Dynamic Keyword Insertion

    DKI is a way of dynamically inserting a keyword into an ad based on the searcher’s search query.

  27. DM = Direct Message

    Commonly seen in regards to Twitter, it is a way of sending direct communication to another user – like private messaging.

  28. DMCA = Digital Millennium Copyright Act

    DMCA refers to the US copyright law that prohibits internet users from producing or distributing copywrited works online.

  29. DmR = Domain MozRank

    DmR is a calculated rank score of a domain, representing the domain’s global link popularity, on a scale of 0 to 10.

  30. DmT = Domain MozTrust

    Moz’s MozTrust applied at domain level, calculating the trust of a website’s domain based on quality of backlinks pointing at the domain, on a scale of 0-10.

  31. DNS = Domain Name Server

    Directory of domain names translated to their corresponding numeric IP addresses.

  32. eCPM = Effective Cost Per Mille

    eCPM (or Effective Cost Per Thousand) is calculated by dividing total ad earnings by total number of ad impressions in thousands.

  33. EMD = Exact Match Domain

    Exact match domains are domain names that contain the exact keywords that the website is aiming to rank for. This was once a popular SEO tactic as Google held some preference over URLs containing keywords for that keyword search. (e.g. ranking boost for “exact match domain” search query.)

  34. FB = Facebook

    The popular social network. You don’t need me to tell you what Facebook is…

  35. FTP = File Transfer Protocol

    Standard network protocol for transferring computer files from one host over to another via TCP-based network like the internet. Used to upload files to a server or website.

  36. G+ = Google Plus

    Google’s social network. No explanation needed; you should know what Google+ is…

  37. GA = Google Analytics

    Google’s web analytics service for tracking and reporting website traffic.

  38. GWT = Google Webmaster Tools

    Now re-branded as Search Console, though still being most commonly referred to as Google Webmaster Tools, is a Google service that allows users to monitor search results data pertaining to their web properties, in order to help webmasters and SEOs improve their website’s performance in search.

  39. H1 = Heading 1

    HTML headings range from 1 to 6, 1 being the most important heading and 6 being the least. There should only ever be one H1 per page, and keywords within a page’s H1 can impact the page’s ranking for that keyword due to the weight given to it on-page.

  40. HTML = HyperText Markup Language

    Standard markup language used to create the basic structure of webpages on the internet.

  41. HTTP = HyperText Transfer Protocol

    HTTP is the foundation of data communication for the World Wide Web. HTTP commands are how web browsers receive information from web servers, e.g. what webpage to display when a certain URL is typed in to the browser.

  42. HTTPS = HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure

    HTTPS (also known as Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure, HTTP over SSL, or HTTP over TLS), is a communication over HTTP (see definition of HTTP above) but within an encrypted connection. This authenticates the website and protects the privacy of any data exchanged on the website, such as payment details or user information.

  43. IM = Inbound Marketing / Internet Marketing

    Inbound marketing refers to the marketing practices that aim to naturally pull customers in through, for example, producing content or brand awareness. This is as opposed to going out and acquiring customers through old marketing methods such as buying leads, etc. Internet marketing is digital marketing online, and inbound marketing is a popular strategy for internet marketers.

  44. IP = Internet Protocol

    An IP address is a numerical address assigned to a device on a computer network connected to internet for communication.

  45. JS = Javascript

    JS (or Javascript) is a dynamic programming language commonly used on websites. They allow client-side scripts to interact with the user.

  46. KDA = Keyword Density Analyser

    A KDA tool will check the keyword density or frequency of a webpage and calculate the number of times keywords are used on a webpage as a percentage. This is no longer an obsession within the SEO industry as search engines understand semantically similar vocabulary better than before, rather than exact keywords.

  47. KEI = Keyword Effectiveness Index

    KEI is a way to identify keywords that show the most potential for ranking a webpage based on competition difficulty, profitability and search volume.

  48. KML = Keyhole Markup Language

    KML is an XML notation for geographic annotation on online maps, such as Google Maps or Google Earth. It is thought to be important for local SEO.

  49. KPI = Key Performance Indicator

    A KPI is a measurable value to evaluate the success of a key business objective. For example, a KPI could be web traffic to a website in order to generate more sales.

  50. KW = Keyword / Keywords

    Keywords in page content are the words that you are targeting for SEO, that you give extra weight to on the page in order to rank for those keywords. Search queries which users type into a search engine contain keywords that are used to retrieve the relevant documents in the search index.

  51. LP = Landing Page

    A landing page is also often referred to as a “lead capture page”, and is a single webpage used as an entrance page from search results or an ad and acts as an extension of the search result or ad. Its goal is to convert site visitors into sales or leads.

  52. LPO = Landing Page Optimisation

    LPO is the practice of optimising a landing page to generate more (or better) conversions and is similar to CRO (Conversion Rate Optimisation) but exclusively in reference to landing pages.

  53. LSA = Latent Semantic Analysis

    LSA is a technique in NLP (Natural Language Processing) that analyses the relationships between how words and phrases are used in documents.

  54. LSI = Latent Semantic Index

    LSI is the indexing and retrieval method of documents containing semantically relevantly content. Based on the concept that words used in similar contexts are most likely to have similar meanings, LSI identifies patterns and relationships between how words and phrases are used in different contexts, correlating semantically related terms, so that information retrieval systems can deliver a relevant document based on the user’s search query despite the document itself not containing the keywords that the user searched for.

  55. MoM = Month On Month

    MoM is a way of comparing an indicator or metric to the previous month.

  56. mR = MozRank

    mR (developed by Moz) is a calculated rank score of a webpage, representing the webpage’s global link popularity, on a scale of 0-10.

  57. mT = MozTrust

    mT (developed by Moz) calculates the trust of a webpage based on quality of backlinks pointing at the webpage, on a scale of 0-10.

  58. MTD = Month To Date

    Often seen in reports, MTD refers to the period starting at the beginning of the current month and ending at the current date.

  59. ORM = Online Reputation Management

    ORM is the practice of influencing the perception or reputation of a brand, individual or business online. Though it was originally PR (public relations) jargon, it has since entered online marketing territory too, where some ORM strategies can even be seen as blackhat (e.g. deleting bad reviews, publishing false reviews, etc). But for the most part, ORM is generally painting the subject in a good light online.

  60. OSE = Open Site Explorer

    OSE is Moz’s link analysis tool.

  61. PA = Page Authority

    PA is a metric developed by Moz that scores the authority of a webpage on a 100-point, logarithmic scale, based on a number of different factors.

  62. PBN = Private Blog Network

    A PBN is (or was) a common blackhat SEO strategy to rank websites. The network will consist of numerous blogs (often filled with spammy content) belonging to the individual or contacts of the individual, and are used to build backlinks to a “money website”. Google may de-index websites that are caught as being a part of a PBN due to the spammy manipulation of links.

  63. PHP = PHP Hypertext Preprocessor

    PHP is a server-side scripting language that was designed for web development back in 1995. In 2014, PHP was installed on over 240 million websites on the internet, accounting for 39% of all websites sampled.

  64. PPA = Pay Per Action

    PPA is an advertising pricing model where the advertiser pays for a specific action to be completed. e.g. a download, a form submit, user registration, etc.

  65. PPC = Pay Per Click

    PPC refers to an advertising pricing model where the advertiser pays per click through to the advertiser’s website from the ad. The CPC itself can vary depending on the ad network and their own terms (e.g. flat-rate, bid-based, etc).

  66. PR = PageRank

    PR is Google’s most well-known algorithm that has built their company from the beginning. The PR algorithm ranks websites in Google’s search engine results and was named after Larry Page, one of the Google founders. PageRank itself is now only one of the numerous ranking factors that Google uses, and is no longer directly important for SEO yet many people still pay attention to the PR of websites despite it not having been visibly updated in a long time.

  67. PV = Page View

    A PV is the view of a page on a website that has analytics tracking. Every refresh of the page from the same user will also be recorded as an additional page view. If the user browses around the website and returns to that page, it will also be counted as an additional pageview for that page.

  68. QoQ = Quarter On Quarter

    QoQ is a way of comparing an indicator or metric to the previous quarter.

  69. QR = Quick Response (Code)

    A QR code is a matrix barcode that uses four standardised encoding modes to store data. They allow users to quickly scan the code using a QR code reader (usually a mobile app and phone camera) to add vCard contacts, display text, send you to a specific webpage or even compose a text message or email.Their ease of generation and use made QR codes one of the most used types of matrix barcodes available.

  70. QS = Quality Score

    QS is a variable in the Google Adwords ranking algorithm that helps to determine the order in which ads are listed, affecting both rank and CPC of ads, when ran against the bid.

  71. ROAS = Return On Advertising Spend

    ROAS is used to measure how effective an online advertising campaign is by gross revenue, and is calculated by dividing the amount sold by the amount spent on advertising.

  72. ROI = Return On Investment

    ROI is a metric used to measure the effectiveness of an investment of some resource, or to compare the efficiency of multiple investments. The ROI can be calculated as the cost of investment subtracted from the gain from investment, and then divided by the cost of investment.

  73. RMA = Rich Media Ad

    An RMA offers its audience more opportunity to interact with the ad itself than text ads and standard display ads, and can include video, games, social media, expansion, high interactivity and more using Flash or HTML5.

  74. RSS = Really Simple Syndication (or Rich Site Summary)

    RSS (Really Simple Syndication – but originally RDF Site Summary) is a feed of frequently updated information from blogs, news, video/sound channels, and other online publishers. This enables publishers to syndicate data automatically through the RSS feeds, which users can then subscribe to so that can be notified of anything new that has been published (such as a new blog post, or new video) without having to check manually by visiting the website frequently.

  75. RT = ReTweet

    A RT is a share on Twitter. When you are signed in and you RT a post, the post will be shared on your feed for all your followers to see.

  76. SaaS = Software as a Service

    SaaS is a software licensing and distribution model that allows users to use software based on a subscription. Typically the vendor provider will make the software available to its users over the internet and host everything themselves, reducing the costs for the user as hardware and software support and maintenance is outsourced.

  77. SE = Search Engine

    Search Engines (such as Google, Bing and DuckDuckGo) provide a website or software for your users to search for information and data on the World Wide Web.

  78. SEM = Search Engine Marketing

    SEM is a type of internet marketing that uses search engines to promote and increase the visibility of websites. This can be by incorporating SEO and/or SERP-based PPC into the marketing plan.

  79. SEO = Search Engine Optimisation

    SEO is a type of internet marketing that works to improve the visibility of a website in organic search, getting them to rank higher in search engine results for target keywords and their related topics.

  80. SERP = Search Engine Results Page

    A SERP is the page that you see when you search for something online (on a search engine such as Google) and you are provided with a list of matching results of webpages across the internet.

  81. SLA = Service Level Agreement

    An SLA is a service contract between the service provider and the end user that formally defines the aspects of the service. This can cover separate organisations or internal department relationships within a single organisation.

  82. SMB = Small to Medium Business

    SMBs are businesses that meet a specific criteria including number of employees, turnover and balance sheet total.

  83. SME = Small to Medium Enterprise

    SMEs are businesses that meet a specific criteria including number of employees, turnover and balance sheet total.

  84. SMM = Social Media Management / Social Media Marketing

    Social Media Management is the management of multiple social media accounts, profiles and networks for business, and can be managed in-house or outsourced to an SMM specialist. Social Media Marketing is the promotion of a brand, product or event through social media.

  85. SMO = Social Media Optimisation

    SMO is the strategic use of social media to generate online visibility and awareness of a brand, product or event, and the optimisation of social media profiles and accounts.

  86. SSL = Secure Sockets Layer

    SSL provides a secure, encrypted connection between websites and internet browsers, allowing privacy of data.

  87. TLD = Top Level Domain

    A TLD is a domain at its highest hierarchical level. For example, in, .net is the TLD. Other common TLDs are .com, .org and .gov.

  88. TLP = Top Level Page

    The TLP is the top level of user access of a website. They are the main pages and often the first points of access for users.

  89. UGC = User Generated Content

    UGC is the content on a website that has been created or published by the website’s users. Common forms of UGC include comments, reviews and public posts or messages.

  90. URL = Uniform Resource Locator

    The URL is the address of a webpage or location of a resource which users can type into the address bar of their web browser to access the contents. But the URL is not only for accessing websites via a web browser, they can also be used for FTP, email,  database access, and more.

  91. UI = User Interface

    The UI is the space where the user can interact with the system. It can include GUI (Graphical User Interface) or CLI (Command Line Interface) and provides the user with a way to control their activity on the operating system or application.

  92. UX = User Experience

    UX (or UXD – User Experience Design) is the process of optimising an application for the user’s benefit of satisfaction. This can be done by improving the application visually as well as its usability and accessibility.

  93. W3C = World Wide Web Consortium

    W3C is the main international organisation that handles the World Wide Web standards, enforcing agreement and compatibility among industry members.

  94. WMT = Webmaster Tools

    Now re-branded as Search Console, though still being most commonly referred to as Google Webmaster Tools, is a Google service that allows users to monitor search results data pertaining to their web properties, in order to help webmasters and SEOs improve their website’s performance in search.

  95. WOM = Word Of Mouth

    The passing of information (positive, negative or neutral) directly from person to person via oral communication for no reward.

  96. WP = WordPress

    WP commonly refers to WordPress, a popular CMS for blogging and creating websites.

  97. WYSIWYG = What You See Is What You Get

    WYSIWYG refers to an editor that allows you to see content displayed similarly to how it it will be displayed when it is published or released as a finished product, including both text and graphics, as opposed to the code behind it.

  98. XML = Extensive Markup Language

    XML is a markup language that encodes documents into a format that is readable by both humans and machines. It is widely used for representing structured data.

  99. YoY = Year On Year

    YoT is a way of comparing an indicator or metric to the previous year.

  100. YTD = Year To Date

    Often seen in reports, YTD refers to the period starting at the beginning of the current year and ending at the current date.