Confused by abbreviations used in digital marketing? SEO acronyms and slang can sound like a foreign language – and in some cases they are.
SEO is an acronym itself, Search Engine Optimization is the process of improving a website and the signals pointing to it with the hopes of improving keyword rankings and targeted traffic.
Once you start learning terms in SEO and digital marketing, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Here is a comprehensive list of commonly used abbreviations in search engines optimization and online marketing in general.
This list will be updated periodically with new terms as they are created. If there is a term missed, please let me know in the comments and I’ll get that fixed up right away.
Allows web applications to send and receive data asynchronously.
- ALT – Alternative Text Attribute
An ALT tag is used within the HTML coding of a page to describe an image in text format. Search engines use an alt text of an image to understand what the image is about and users may use an alt-text for visually impaired users or a browser can’t display an image.
- AOV – Average order value
Average amount spent by customers making purchases on site.
- AMP – Accelerated Mobile Page
Open source software created by Google and other companies to allow a separate page for mobile devices that load quickly.
- ASCII – American Standard Code for Information Interchange
A character encoding standard to communication electronically. You average keyboard displays the letters and symbols ASCII uses to standardize information across the internet.
- API – Application Program Interface
An intercace that communicates between multiple software applications. It can define calls/requests, formats and conventions to follow.
- ASP – Application service provider
Delivers commercial software applications and other services for businesses online.
- B2B – Business to Business
One business that makes a commercial transaction with another business.
- B2C – Business to Consumer
Businesses that sell directly to a consumer, bypassing any 3rd party.
- BH – Black Hat
Performing online actions with the intent to manipulate search engine rankings – also referred to as “gaming the algorithm”.
- BHW – Black Hat World
Most commonly referred to as an online forum devoted to methods of gaming the current search engine algorithms.
- BL – Backlink
A link from one website pointing to another. Still one of the most powerful ranking factors in modern SEO, if done right. Read about turning affiliate partners into valuable backlinks.
- BR – Bounce Rate
The percentage of readers who visit any one page on your site that don’t interact with anything on site, such as clicking a link.
- ccTLD – Country Code Top Level Domain
Always two letters long, a country code top-level domain are reserved for countries and territories. For example, .can for Canada, .au for Australia.
- CAPTCHA – Completely Automated Public Turing Test to Tell Computers and Humans Apart
A form many sites sites use to help restrict bots from completing an action – such as using a contact form.
- CDN – Content Delivery Network
A group of proxy servers that are geographically spread across the world. Using a CDN allows you content to be sent to a user from their closest server.
- CGI – Common Gateway Interface
A standard way of running an application from an online server. CGI is known to use up a lot of processing time.
- CLS – Cumulative Layout Shift
The unexpected shifting of elements on a webpage as it loads into a browser. It is a major factor in Google’s Web Core Vitals test.
- CLV – Customer Lifetime Value
How much net profit a customer is predicted to generate over the entire relationship with a business.
- CMS – Content Management System
Computer software to organize and manage the creation and modification of digital content. WordPress, Shopify and Wix are all types of CMS.
- COA – Cost Of Acquisition
How much it costs a business to have a customer purchase a product or service.
- CPA – Cost Per Acquisition
The aggregate cost of acquiring a customer for a product of service.
- CPC – Cost Per Click
Used in online advertising, the aggregate cost of a potential customer clicking from your advertisement to website landing page.
- CPI – Cost Per Impression
The aggregate cost of 1,000 people viewing an online advertisement. Commonly used in internet advertising and marketing.
- CPL – Cost Per Lead
The aggregate cost of a sign up form, a common advertising pricing model. Also known as online lead generation.
- CPM – Cost Per Thousands
Similar to CPI, a marketing term to show the aggregate cost of 1,000 impressions on an advertisement.
- CPO – Cost Per Order
The average cost for a business to have a customer complete an order.
- CPV – Cost Per View
The average cost for a single view, it is calculated by total advertising costs by number of views.
- CR – Conversion Rate
The percentage of people that view an order, offer or form, in relation to the number of conversions.
- CRM – Customer Relationship Management
How a business analyses its relationship with past, present and future customers. It helps define areas of the business to be improved in relation to its clients.
- CRO – Conversion Rate Optimization
The process in optimizing a website or landing page to increase the number of conversions.
- CSE – Custom Search Engine
Google Programmable Search Engine is a platform provided by Google that allows web developers to create customized search engines, based on Google Search.
- CSS – Cascading Style Sheet
A style sheet language used to describe the presentation of a document that is written with a mark up languahe, such as HTML.
- CTA – Call To Action
A common element of a website landing page, often directing a visitor to perform a specifc actions. Order Now, Buy Now and Sign Up are 3 examples of a CTA.
- CTR – Click Through Rate
The percentage of people that click through to your website after veiweing a result, or impression.
- CX – Customer Experience
In online marketing, it is the experience of a customer or client that interacts with your online business. A poor customer experience can lead to a bad conversion rate.
- DA – Domain Authority
A metrics developed by Moz, gives a rough guide to how your website compares to competitors in relation to your backlink profile
- DF – Do Follow (Backlinks)
The most sought after form of backlink to a site. A Do-Follow backlinks passes a small amount of authority, also known as “link juice” from one page to another.
- DFO – Data Feed Optimization
The process of improving your product feeds to increase your online sales through your business.
- DKI – Dynamic Keyword Insertion
Automatically inserts the most relevant keyword for your advertisement.
- DLP – Directory Listings Page
A directory listing is a page where customers search for business contact information. Yelp, Yellow Pages and Google My Business are all forms of directories.
- DLR – Deep Link Ratio
The ratio of internal links compared to the total of links on a page.
- DMP – Data Management Platform
A software platform used to collect and organize data. Helps businesses target specifc users during a marketing campaign.
- DNS – Domain Name System
A hierarchical naming system for computers or resources connected to the internet. Various information is associated to each domain name.
- DR – Direct Response
A marketing tactic used to encourage a reader to perform an action quickly, such as a purchase or opt-in.
- DR – Domain Rating
A metric from 1 to 100 used by Ahrefs to determine the strength of a backlink profile of a website.
- DRPs – Directory Submissions
A website page where a link to a website is placed. Directory sumbissions hold little value in modern SEO, but can still be beneficial when done right.
- ECPC – Enhanced Cost Per Click
Adjusting your manual advertising bids in effort to increase conversion rate by more aggressively targeting profitable keywords.
- EMD – Exact Match Domain
Including the keywords your trying to rank for in the domain name itself. Google have confirmed this tactic doesn’t work.
- EPC – Earnings per click
Average money earnt per click in a paid advertising campaign.
- EMP – Earnings per thousand
Revenue earned for every 1,000 impressions.
- ESP – Email Service Provider
A company providing email accounts to people and businesses.
- FBML – Facebook Markup Language
Html code that allows Facebook page owners to create custom tabs on their business page.
- FCP – Frequently Cached Page
Pages that are often cached by Google in their index.
- FCP – First Contentful Paint
Occurs when the first piece of content is downloaded on the browser. This metric is part of the Web Core Vitals test by Google.
- FTP – File Transfer Protocol
Standard network protocol for transferring files between a client and server on a computer network.
- G+ – Google Plus
A social platform created by Google. It was shut down in April 2019.
- GA – Google Analytics
The most accurate way to collect data on visitors coming to your site. You can see demographics, geographical locations, device used and plenty more about your audience.
- GAP – Google Advertising Professional
A Pay Per Click advertising professional that has completed the Google PPC exam and is qualified to create paid ads.
- GIS – Google Image Search
THe search results page that turners up images as results, rather than text links.
- GRD – Government referring domains
Government owned websites that link to your site. These can be quite powerful as they are seen as authoritative.
- GSC – Google Search Console
Google Search Console, or simply Search Console, is used to keep track of rankings for specifc keywords and landing pages in search results. You can also find manual actions, security issues, and more directly from the Google team here.
- GTM – Google Tag Manager
A tag manager system to easily add and edit tracking code snippets on a website.
- GWT – Google Webmaster Tools
Now known as Google Search Console, displays the rankings and clicks from Google Search Results, as well as messages directly from Google.
- GUI – Graphical User Interface
An interface that allows a user to interact with graphics and icons rather than text.
- H1 – Level 1 Heading Markup
The most important heading, carries the most weight. This is usually the title of the post. Here is the html code you’ll find wrapped around the title <h1>Heading level 1</h1>.
- H2 – Level 2 Heading Markup
The 2nd highest tier heading tag. Here is the html code you’ll find wrapped around the title <h2>Heading level 2</h2>.
- H3 – Level 3 Heading Markup
The 3rd highest tier heading tag. Here is the html code you’ll find wrapped around the title <h3>Heading level 3</h3>.
- H4 – Level 4 Heading Markup
The 3rd highest tier heading tag. Here is the html code you’ll find wrapped around the title <h4>Heading level 4</h4>.
- H5 – Level 5 Heading Markup
The 3rd highest tier heading tag. Here is the html code you’ll find wrapped around the title <h5>Heading level 5</h5>.
- H6 – Level 6 Heading Harkup
The 3rd highest tier heading tag. Here is the html code you’ll find wrapped around the title <h6>Heading level 6</h6>
- HREF – Hypertext Reference
A HTML attribute used to link to a different website, or link to a different area of the same page.
- HTML – Hypertext Markup Language
The standard markup language for documents built to display in a web browser.
- HTTP – Hypertext Transfer Protocol
Communicates between web browsers and web servers, it is used to transmit hypermedia documents.
- HTTPS – Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure
Similar to HTTP, but with an extra layer of security. It enables secure communication over a computer.
- IBL – Inbound Link
A link from one website pointing to your website. Also known as external links.
- IFTTT – If This Than That
Helps connect different apps and devices together.
- IM – Internet Marketing
Also known as online marketing, it is the process of promoting a business products and/or services over the internet.
- IP – Internet Protocol
The method in which data is passed from one computer to another over the internet. Each computer has a specific IP address.
- ISP – Internet Service Providers
Companies that provide internet access to customers.
- JGI – Just Google It
A common term in modern times, telling someone to “Google it” means look it up online on a search engine, like Google.
A lightweight programming language used both on client and server side that allows pages to become interactive.
This information request is commonly used to encode schema data into a web page. This gives search engines more information when reading a webpage that isn’t usually visible to a reader.
- KPI – Key Performance Indicator
Metrics that are crucial to the success of a business, these indicators are important to understanding the level of success in business operations.
- LB – Link Building
The process of collecting links pointing from 3rd party sites to your own website.
- LCP – Largest Contentful Paint
How long it takes for the largest resource on a web page to render and be visible to a user.
- LPO – Landing Page Optimization
The process of optimizing a landing page, usually for increase in conversion rate. Optimizing a web page can vary from loading time to the right call to action visible on a apge that gets a user to perform an action.
- LSA – Latent Semantic Analysis
Used to determine the accuracy of a program’s statements and how data types are used.
- LSEO – Local SEO
Local business serving a specific area or location to have a strong local search presence. Optimizing Google My Business accounts, Yelp reviews, social platforms and other online mentions specific to the local area.
- LSI – Latent Semantic Indexing
A computer program to understand the context of text and learn synonyms based on this information.
- LTKW – Long Tail keyword
A longer keyword, or phrase that webmasters target to get more specific traffic to a webpage.
- LTV – Lifetime Value
The estimated value of a person for the entire time they are a customer of your business.
- MQL – Marketing Qualified Lead
A lead that has more potential to become a client or customer.
- MTO – Meta Tags Optimization
Meta tags provide information about a webpage in the HTML. The process of optimizing helps Google understand and rank the content better.
- NAP – Name, Address, Phone Number
The Name, Address, and Phone Number of a local business is crucial in Google understand more detailed information. You need the NAP of a business to be identical and correct over all social media and directory outlets.
- NF – No Follow (Backlinks)
No Follow backlinks are the opposite of Do Follow links. They pass little to no link authority and search engine spiders won’t follow a link to the second page.
- NSEO – Negative SEO
A black hat SEO method a competitor may use to hurt your website standing with Google. This can include hacking your website and building spammy links to your site to get penalized.
- OBL – Outbound Link
Links pointing from one website to another site. Also called external links.
- ORM – Online Reputation Management
Actively monitor website or brand mentions on social media, other sites and reviews to address false or negative comments.
- OS – Operating System
The operating system of your computer manages all the hardware and software.
- OSE – Open Site Explorer
A tool developed by Moz to identify and track the links pointing to your website.
- OWBL – One Way Back Link
A one-way link is when a link is placed to a site, without that site linking back.
- PAA – People Also Ask
An example of a Google featured snippet, People Also Ask boxes appear in search results and give related questions readers are searching for that may be helpful. This is a great tool for keyword research.
- P4P – Paid For Placement
An open auction where marketers bid for advertisement placement for specific search terms.
- PBN – Private Blog Network
An outdated and potentially harmful link building technique. It is a network of sites used to pass link authority to a single site.
- PDF – Portable Document Format
A file format that captures all document elements as an electronic image. Adobe Acrobat is a common program used to create PDFs.
- PFI – Pay For Inclusion
Websites pay to be included in a directory or database.
- PFL – Pay For Listings
Pay for your website to be listed around the internet, also known as paid placement or pay per click.
- PFP – Pay For Performance
Incentive for an employee or business is rewarded for completing objectives.
- PHP – Hypertext Preprocessor
This server side HTML scripting language manages dynamic content, databases and e-commerce sites.
- PPC – Pay Per Click
Spending money to have a website page show up in the advertising section of search results, or on other websites.
- PPCSE – Pay Per Click Search Engine
Search engines that provide a PPC service, such as Google.
- PPL – Pay Per Lead
Pay a determined price per lead to your website or business.
- PPS – Pay Per Sale
Pay a determined price per sale to your website or business.
- PR – Page Rank
Developed by the founders of Google, Page Rankis a system for how websites rank in search results.
- PR – Press Release
A press release aims to interest a journalist or publication in a subject. It’s usually a short news story sent to targeted members of the media.
- PV – Pageviews
The count of individual pages viewed on your website
- QA – Quality Assurance
Identifies potential mistakes and issues with a product or service, intended to uncover an issue before any damage happens.
- QS – Quality Score
An overall judgment of how Google Adwords finds your Pay Per Click ad both relevant and it’s quality. It helps in determining the cost of clicks.
- RD – Referring Domains
A referring domain is a website, or domain, that links to a website. Multiple links from the same domain count as one referring domain.
- RFI – Request For Information
A document used to gather information to create a list of potential suppliers or vendors.
- ROI – Return on Investment
A formula for calculating the efficiency of an investment. Profit/Investment x 100 will give you a percentage of ROI.
- ROS – Run of Site
An advertising term that means advertisers give ad placement control to publishers, usually leading to lower advertising costs.
- ROAS – Return On Ad Spend
How much revenue was generated by spending money on ad placement. Return from ads – amount spend on ads will show how much revenue was generated after cost of ads has been factored in.
- RSS – Really Simple Syndication or Rich Site Summary
Allows users and applications to get updates from websites in a readable and standardized format.
- RTD – Real-Time Data
Data that is immediately delivered after it has been collected. Often used for tracking or navigation, as there is no delay in the provided information.
- SaaS – Software as a Service
A software distribution model that allows customers to access the program over the internet.
- SE – Search Engine
A website that allows users to search queries and get relevant information in return. Google, Bing and Yahoo are three examples.
- SEM – Search Engine Marketing
A marketing tactic where a business uses paid advertisements on search engines to sell products, services or get more brand awareness to increase their revenue.
- SEO – Search Engine Optimization
The process of improving a website and the signals pointing to it with the hopes of improving keyword rankings and targeted traffic.
- SEOs – Search Engine Optimization Performance
The process of measuring search engine performance of a website over time. Taking into account a number of factors and techniques to develop a strategy to increase organic visibility on search engines.
- SEP – Search Engine Positioning
The practice of optimizing web pages in order to get higher rankings on search engines.
- SERM – Search Engine Results Management
Constantly managing the online reputation of a company and influencing the public impression of a business.
- SERP – Search Engine Results Page
The page that is returned after making a search query on a search engine.
- SES – Search Engine Strategies
The process of planning, outlining and implementing strategies designed to improve your rankings on search engines.
- SEW – Search Engine Watch
A well known website keeping an eye on changes in SEO, algorithms and much more.
- SI – Speed Index
How long it takes in milliseconds for visible resources of a website to be displayed.
- SLA – Service Level Agreement
An agreement that defines the level of service expected from a vendor, and key performance indicators and important metrics to be measured.
- SMO – Social Media Optimization
Optimizing social media listings for a business to improve it’s standing across different outlets relating to your business.
- SMP – Social Media Platform
Websites and apps that allow people to interact with other users. Facebook, Youtube and Instagram are three well known social media platforms.
- SNS – Social Networking Service
An online website or app where users create an account and interact with others who share similar interests and activities.
- SQL – Sales Qualified Lead
A prospective client or customer that has a high chance of converting and has expressed interest in your product or service.
- SRC – Server Response Codes
A variety of status codes issued by a server in response to a request made by a client.
- SRM – Search Reputation Management
The continuous act of managing an online business reputation over search engines.
- SSI – Server Side Includes
Directives placed in HTML pages that allow you to add dynamically generated content to an existing page.
- SSL – Secure Sockets Layer
A protocol for establishing authenticated and encrypted links between a client and a server.
- SWL – Site-Wide Link
A link that appears on most or all of a website’s pages.
- TBT – Total Blocking Time
The amount of time that a page is blocked from respondign to actions of a user, such as a link click.
- TF – Trust Flow
Determining how trustworthy a page is based on the types and authority of sites linked to.
- TLD – Top Level Domain
Part of a domain that comes after the dot, for example, com, org or net.
- TLP – Top Level Page
A page on a website that is the top of the hierarchical page structure.
- TOP – Time On Page
How long customers spend on a certain page, usually displayed as an average.
- TOS – Terms Of Service
Legal agreements between a service provider and user who wants to use that particular service.
- TR – Trust Rank
An algorithm that analyzes a link profile to separate spam from useful sites in the search engine rankings.
- TTF – Topical Trust Flow
The relevancy of inbound links compared to the content on your page and the website the link is coming from.
- TTFB – Time To First Byte
A measurement of time to determine how responsive a web server or other resource is. Measures the duration from the user making a HTTP request to the first byte being loaded in a users browser.
- TTI – Time To Interactive
How long it takes for a website page to become interactive when loading in a browser.
- UI – User Interface
The point in which a user interacts with a computer. A screen where a user interacts with an application, a desktop computer and a keyboard are all versions of a UI.
- URI – Uniform Resource Identifier
A section of a web address, a string of characters that identifies a particular resource. It combines the URL and URN of a web address.
- URL – Uniform Resource Locator
A section of a web address, a string of characters that identifies a particular resource location.
- URN – Uniform Resource Name
A section of a web address, a string of characters that identifies a particular resource name.
- USP – Unique Selling Point
Combining what a customer wants and what your brand does well, ignoring what your competition does well. Identifying a USP is a solid way to get more market share.
- UTM – Urchin Tracking Module
A way to add tags into a URL so when a link is clicked, those tags are sent to Google Analytics and tracker. UTM’s are used to track a campaigns effectiveness and identify ways to drive more traffic and sale to a website.
- UV – Unique Visitor
An individual visitor to your website during a certain reporting period. Any users visiting your site with the same IP address count as 1 unique visitor.
- UX – User Experience
The overall experience a user has when visiting your website. This includes page speed, how things load and appear, as well how engaging the content is. UX is a major ranking factor, as it sends a number of important signals to Google.
- VA – Virtual Assistant
An assistant that can help with a range of online activities. A form of outsourcing things to do for a business.
- VIPS – Visual-block Page Segmentation
Vision-based Page Segmentation uses an algorithm (VIPS) to extract the blocks structure by using some visual cues and tag properties of the nodes, commonly used on Python coding platforms.
- VOD – Video On Demand
Video that is always accessible to a user which can either be downloaded or streamed on a device.
- W3C – World Wide Web Consortium
An international community that develops and sets the standards of the internet to ensure long-term growth.
- WH – White Hat
Often referred to as ‘safe’ link building techniques. White Hat techniques are those that don’t break any Terms of Service of Google and other search engines.
- WMT – Webmaster Tools
Webmaster Tools refers to either Google Search Console (once known as Google Webmaster Tools) or Bing Webmaster Tools. A interface to display data from search engines.
- WMW – Webmaster World
A well known site helping webmasters, or website owners, understand and implement SEO and best internet practices for their websites.
- WP – WordPress
The most popular CMS or Content Management System in the world. Around 35% of all websites in the world are powered by WordPress, an estimated 455 million.
- WWW – World Wide Web
Commonly known as the Web, where documents and other resources are transferred by URL’s and interlinked by hypertexts.
- XHTML – Extensible HyperText Markup Language
A markup language used to create webpages across the internet. Similar to HTML but uses a XML-based syntax that is more strict.
- XML – Extensible Markup Language
A simple yet flexible text format language. Plays an important role the exchange of data across the internet.
- Y! – Yahoo
One of the largest search engines in the world and a large news website.
- YOY – Year Over Year
A way to compare financial results, data or statistics compared to the same time period during the last calendar year.
- YTD – Year To Date
Refers to the first day of the current year up to the current date. Is a way of measuring financial trends or success, or interpreting data and statics for the current year.
- 200 – Resource OK Status
This HTTP status code means the request was valid and succeeded, meaning there were no issues in serving the page from a server.
- 301 – Resource Moved Permanently
A page that has been deleted or moved forever. A 301 redirect takes a user to a different page on a website, as the originally requested content has been moved/deleted.
- 302 – Resource Moved Temporarily
Similar to a 301, the page or resource has been moved, but a 302 let’s website crawlers know the page is expected to return in the future. A 302 redirect doesn’t pass any link authority juice to the redirected page.
- 401 – Unauthorized Access to Resource
Shown as an error code when the request has been denied due to lack of valid authentication credentials, such as a logged in account.
- 403 – Forbidden
Similar to a 401 error, a 403 error means the server, for some reason, refused to authorize the request made by a user.
- 404 – Page Not Found
A page that no longer exists on a website. Changing a URL of a website page or post will create a 404 error and should be redirected.
- 503 – Server Unavailable
Another common HTTP status response code. This indicates that a server is currently unable to handle the request.
Search Engine Optimization and Digital Marketing Acronyms Conclusion
That’s it for now, 186 SEO acronyms, digital marketing abbreviations and a whole lot of terms you’re likely to come across in the industry.
I hope this post has been helpful – share it out if it helped you in understanding some lesser known terms.
Please let me know if I missed anything at all in the comments below, I’ll be keeping this updated as the industry evolves.
If you’re looking for an SEO expert to help increase your organic traffic and visibility, contact Easy Mode Media today!