July 2, 2020

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content marketing glossary 2020

In order to help the wider community understand some of the terminology used within the content marketing industry, I’ve put together this comprehensive content marketing glossary giving definitions for many of the commonly used terms in the sector.

Currently comprising over 550 individual definitions organised in alphabetical order, this growing list is already the ultimate resource of its type to be found anywhere on the Web.

This is the updated 2021 edition, and I want this list to grow organically as content marketing terminology changes – so if I’ve missed anything out or you want to see a new term included, simply mention this in the comments below and I’ll add in your selection.

If you make a contribution yourself (including suggesting definitions for new or excluded terms), we can all build this list into a genuinely useful knowledge centre that helps people learn about content marketing.

To navigate your way through the list, just click on the letter of your choice to visit the relevant section – or scroll down the page.

Content Marketing Glossary
Definitions From A To Z


A / B testing

An evidence-based evaluation method often used to compare two versions of a web page. For example, users might be sent to either the new or original version of a web page to determine which version people prefer.

Above the fold

The area of a web page that is visible without scrolling down the page. This is the part of the page seen first and is considered to be one of the most valuable areas of the page.


An accessible web page is one that works for every visitor, no matter what browser or device they are using.

Account Executive or Account Manager

The person at a company who handles a client’s account, such as an account a business might have with a marketing agency.


The operation performed by a visitor, such as clicking a link, buying a product, or forwarding an article. Good content is written with these actions in mind.

Active verb

“Doing words” that are important in online writing. Using active verbs encourages visitors to perform desired actions. E.g. “Sign up.” “Buy now.”

Ad space

Short for “advertising space”. This is the area of a web page in which adverts are placed.


A service from Google that provides targeted, revenue-generating advertising for websites.


An advert that is written in the style of an editorial feature.


An advertising service from Google that shows adverts relevant to a user’s search query on the Google search results page.

Affiliate marketing

An income generation model in which website owners place adverts on their site directing visitors to an affiliated company’s website. Income is normally earned when a visitor either visits or buys from the affiliated company’s website.

Aggregated content

Content that has been compiled from various sources. There are several flavours of content aggregation, from simple reuse of external content (often frowned upon, especially if content is uncredited), to news aggregation services, to content curation, in which internal content is compiled and consolidated.


An idea taken from Agile project management methodology in which flexibility and responsiveness are prioritised. Agility is important in content marketing, enabling quick responses to new opportunities and news events.


Short for “alternative tag”. This is a short text description, normally of an image on a web page. This text may be used by search engines to find images, and may also used by text-to-speech tools that allow visually impaired people to access a website.


Often used as short-hand for “Google Analytics”, analytics in general refers to the analysis of data to obtain information and insight. Google Analytics is a service from Google that provides data and statistics on various measures of website success, such as visits, traffic and sales.

Anchor text

The displayed text in a hyperlink – users click on this text to visit a new page. Anchor text is used by search engines and should be relevant and used naturally, otherwise it may be penalised by the search engine.


Short for “application”. Generally used to refer to programs designed for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. Such programs are normally relatively simple and provide specific functions, from games to travel planners.


A type of written content, normally an informative piece on a particular topic. Feature articles are generally longer, more detailed or more subjective than news articles.

Article marketing

A marketing strategy in which articles are created to provide website content that attracts visitors and/or generates external links to the content, helping increase search engine rankings.


The use of faked or covert user comments, reviews etc to promote or market a product or idea. This is a controversial technique which has been legislated against in several countries.


The process of breaking down, reformatting and targeting content so that it can be distributed through various outlets and at various stages in the user journey. For example a long whitepaper might be broken down and the pieces distributed via blog posts, emails or social media.


The process of identifying the actions or marketing channels that led to a successful outcome (e.g. a conversion). Once identified, these actions or channels can be monitored and evaluated, further refining the marketing strategy.

Audit and Mapping

A stage in the content strategy process which involves auditing current content and mapping content against buyer stages and personas to identify gaps where new content is required.


Often used as short-hand for “Google Authorship”, authorship in general refers to crediting the creator of written content. While much online content is ghost-written, authorship can help give credibility to content. Google Authorship is an aspect of Google+ in which authorship is verified, increasing credibility.


A blog in which the posted content is gathered from other sources and posted automatically.


Sends replies automatically when emails or texts are received.

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B2B marketing

Short for “business to business marketing”, i.e. where one business markets its products or services to another business rather than to the public.

B2C marketing

Short for “business to consumer marketing”, i.e. where a business markets its products or services to the public rather than to another business.


The renowned SEO and content marketing blog established and run by Brian Dean, Backlinko is my first choice resource for SEO and YouTube SEO.


Also called inbound or incoming links, these are links that point back to a website from other external websites. Backlinks may be used by search engines to assess a website’s popularity and will affect a site’s ranking.

Bad neighbourhoods

A website that uses dishonest SEO techniques such as link farming or cloaking and has therefore been heavily penalised by search engines. Linking to bad neighbourhood sites can hurt the ranking of genuine website.

Banner ads

An image-based online advert that is embedded in a web page. Such adverts are often held on a central ad server with the particular adverts shown to visitors determined by that visitor’s search history.

Big data

Datasets that are too big to be analysed using traditional tools and methods. Big data is a consequence of the expansion of technology and digital products. For example, huge numbers of data points are being collected daily on millions of internet users.

Bing SEO

Search engine optimisation methods that help improve a website’s ranking in Microsoft’s Bing search engine.

Black hat SEO

Dishonest or disreputable SEO tactics that are designed to fool the algorithms used by search engines when assessing a website’s ranking. Such tactics are penalised by search engines.


A list of organisations or websites (often identified via IP address) that have been identified as being spammers or malicious. Emails sent from such IP addresses would normally be rejected by email service providers and not received by the intended recipient.


Originally, blogs were most frequently used by individuals as a type of online diary. Nowadays, blogs are commonly used by both individuals and organisations as a short-form publishing platform for sharing news, opinions, images and other items of interest. Read our guide on How To Start a WordPress Blog in 7 Easy Steps (2020 Edition).


The collective term for the blogging community, consisting of its blogs, blog writers (aka “bloggers”) and blog readers.


Standard reusable text often containing company details such as the company’s registration number that is commonly inserted into the footer of documents and web pages.


A method of saving the address of a website so that it can be easily visited again. This is a common feature provided by most internet browsers, and can also be done using third party bookmarking services.

Boost Blog Traffic

A highly regarded blog founded and run by Jon Morrow that helps you gain more website readers.

Bottom of the funnel

A section of what is commonly referred to as the “sales funnel”: an idea representing the stages of a lead’s relationship with a company from prospect through to purchase. The bottom of the funnel is the last stage, where leads become customers.

Bounce rate

The number of people who leave a website after only viewing one page. A high bounce rate is undesirable: the intention is normally to interest a visitor so that they stay on a website and explore more pages.

Brand awareness

A measure of how well a brand is known by the general public. An indication of brand awareness might be gained by measuring how many visitors arrive at a website by searching for the company name rather than general terms. E.g. “Kelloggs” rather than “breakfast cereal”.

Brand building

The process of trying to increase brand awareness and brand popularity.

Brand engagement

The attachment (either emotional or logical) that a customer has for a brand. This includes their associations, perceptions and opinions.

Brand evangelist

A customer who has strongly positive feelings for a brand. Companies may encourage such customers to share their views and act as word-of-mouth advocates for the brand.

Brand journalism

A content creation strategy in which journalistic content is produced by a particular brand. The normal aim of brand journalism is to position the brand as an authoritative voice in their sector.

Brand terrorist

An individual who has strongly negative feelings for a brand and attacks the brand publicly, either online of via word-of-mouth. Compare to “brand evangelist”.

Brand visibility

The degree of exposure a brand receives. A good content curation strategy can increase brand visibility, for example by making the most of opportunities presented by topical industry news.

Breadcrumb links

The trail of links often positioned near the top or bottom of a web page that orientates the user, letting them understand where the page they are on sits in the website’s overall structure.

Business Bolts

An online business training and SEO blog run by industry professional Lisa Parmley.

Buyer’s journey

A representational device used to understand the different stages a new website visitor goes through, from first discovering a company to becoming a customer. At each stage, a visitor may have particular needs which need to be met in order to facilitate their journey.


The collective excitement and interest generated by, for example, the launch of a new product or a dramatic news item. Such excitement is often spread by word-of-mouth and social media.

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Often abbreviated to “CTA”, calls-to-action are an important technique in online marketing. They are the trigger used to convert leads into customers or new visitors into leads. Design content with CTAs in mind: what is the goal of the page? What is the desired outcome?


The process of dealing with web pages that have multiple URLs. The existence of multiple URLs is problematic for search engines, as only one URL can be shown in a list of search results. Multiple URLs can also make web pages more difficult to index.


Short for “completely automated Turing test to tell computers and humans apart”. These tests ask users to perform a task that could not be performed by a computer (e.g. identifying a number displayed in a photo) and are often used in online registration forms to prevent fake sign-ups.

Citizen journalism

News reporting performed by members of the public rather than professional journalists.


A popular SEO blog set up and run by Richard Marriott.

Click bait

A disparaging term for a link that is deliberately eye-catching and intriguing and designed purely to persuade people to click on it. The content they lead to is often not as interesting as promised.

Click fraud

A dishonest technique, often using an automated script, which produces “clicks” on a pay-per-click advert in an attempt to generate income.

Click paths

A record of the path a user takes through a website, including the page they entered the website on, all the links they clicked on while browsing the website, and the page they left the website from.

Click tracking

The process of using tools or scripts to follow the click path of a website visitor or email recipient.

Clickthrough rate

A measure of how often users perform the desired action when presented with a piece of content such as an email or web page, based on whether the user “clicked through”, i.e. followed the desired link.


A dishonest SEO technique in which the web page that is presented to a search engine for indexing purposes is different to the web page that is seen by visitors. Such techniques prevent accurate indexing and are penalised by search engines.


Short for “content management system”. A software product used to manage the content on a website.

Content aggregator

A service or website that compiles content from various sources, making it easily available to a subscribed user or site visitor. See “RSS”.

Content brief

An important stage of the content creation process. The content brief is a document created before content development begins. It outlines various details, such as why the content is needed, who it is for and how its success will be measured.

Content Champion

This website, an online resource to help small businesses, online entrepreneurs and creative professionals master content marketing. Also a term for anyone who ‘champions’ content creation and content marketing within their organisation.

Content curation

The active management and promotion of an organisation’s content assets.

Content curation portal

An online platform designed specifically for the curation and publication of content, such as a blog or news page.

Content curation software

A software tool specifically designed to aid the management and curation of content.

Content farm or Content mill

A disparaging name for websites that publish a high volume of low-quality search engine optimised content. Such websites are normally designed to produce income by using this content to attract visitors to pages on which adverts are displayed.

Content marketing

The strategy of creating and publishing high-quality content assets to support and enhance marketing activities, build audiences and develop consumer trust.

Content marketing glossary

An alphabetical list of content marketing definitions published in an easy to use format. You’re currently reading a very comprehensive example of one.

Content Marketing Institute

The popular content marketing training resource and blog founded and run by Joe Pulizzi.

Content shock

The idea that high volumes of content may lead to web users being exposed to more content than they can absorb, potentially devaluing the use of content in marketing.

Content strategy

The strategic planning and management of content creation and distribution for maximum effectiveness. Content strategy involves elements of user experience – designing content that is user-friendly and meets user needs.

Contextual advertising

A technique commonly used in pay-per-click advertising in which the adverts displayed on a web page are related to the content of that web page. For example, a web page about gardening might display adverts for gardening products.


An important consideration in content creation, dissemination and website design. Conversation involves engaging with a website visitor or customer, and so options for interactivity need to be built into the website.

Conversion funnel

An idea representing the stages of a lead’s relationship with a company from potential prospect through to purchaser. Leads are channelled through a funnel using various marketing techniques, with the intention of producing a desired outcome, such as the purchase of a product or registration for a service. Read our guide on Mapping Your Customer Journey In 5 Essential Stages.

Conversion rate

A measure of how successful a web page or marketing activity is. For example, the number of website visitors that were converted into leads by completing a contact details form.


The popular online conversion training blog founded by Peep Laja.

Convince and Convert

An Indiana based digital marketing firm and popular content marketing blog founded by Jay Baer.


A text file created on a person’s computer when they visit certain web pages. Cookies allow websites to recognise returning visitors and build a profile of their habits and interests. The use of cookies has been criticised for potentially invading people’s privacy.


A market leading provider of content marketing products and a popular blog, established by Brian Clark.


An online service that allows website owners to check if their content has been reused elsewhere.


The production of written content for marketing or advertising purposes. This is an essential skill for successful online content marketing.

Creative Commons

A non-profit organisation that facilitates and promotes the legal sharing and re-use of creative works.

Crowdsourced content

Content that is produced by an audience of interested and/or expert people who are not normally employed by the organisation concerned.

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Data extraction

The act of taking data from varied data sources, for example scanned books or archived emails. Such data would normally need to be processed and reformatted before use.

Data mining

The process of analysing a company or organisation’s database to determine statistical patterns in behaviour. This information is often used to segment customers based on location, buying habits or other behavioural attributes in order to deliver personalised messages.

Data-backed content

The use of data to support claims made in content. This can help to build authority and trust. The source of any statistics or figures used in content should be provided.

Dead link

Links that point to web pages that no longer exist. Links like this should be corrected or removed to avoid being penalised by search engines.

Deep link

Links that go to pages other than the homepage or landing page. They might link to a specific feature or topic or pages of legal information such as Terms and Conditions.


The act of attacking the reputation of an individual or organisation without evidence. In the world of content, it is important that any claims made about a competitor are backed up with recognised sources.

Device detection

The identification of the device used to visit a website. This is often used to determine what type of content to display to a user (e.g. mobile or desktop version) or to help understand how a website is being accessed and what content to develop.

Digital marketing

Any online activity that is used to promote products and services to the consumer. This ranges from email marketing to social media and online display campaigns.


A website that contains a list of other websites, listed by service or category. Yahoo is a famous example of this type of site.

Disavow tool

Google’s Disavow Tool lets you tell Google what sites and links you do not want to be associated with. This prevents these links having a negative effect on your website’s ranking, as poor quality inbound links are normally penalised.


Short for “domain name system”. This looks up a website’s IP address and returns it to the user.

Domain authority

A measure of how well a website is trusted by a search engine. The higher a website’s authority, the more likely it is to be trusted.

Domain strength

A fundamental property used by search engines to determine a website’s ranking. Search engine algorithms take into account several features when calculating this, including the age of your website domain and the quality and quantity of inbound links.

Doorway page

A dynamic landing page where the content displayed is based on the keywords used to find the page. In most cases this type of page will be redirect visitors to the homepage.

Double opt-in

Asking a user to confirm their email address twice: once when they complete an online form and again through a validation link in an automatic email sent to the email address given. This ensures the email address is valid and that the account holder intended to sign-up.

Drop out rate

A measure of how successful a website or campaign is at converting prospects. For example, in a sign-up the number of users who fail to complete each stage can be measured. This can help identify areas for improvement in an effort to reduce the total number of drop outs.


A popular open source content management system (CMS) often used in the charity and not-for-profit sectors.

Duct Tape Marketing

The small business marketing blog established and run by John Jantsch.

Duplicate content

This is content that appears on more than one website or web page. Duplicate content is normally penalised by search engines. If you have duplicated content, use tags to let search engines know what to index and what to ignore.

Dwell time

The duration of a user’s visit to a website. Dwell time is a useful measure to help determine a site’s “stickiness”.

Dynamic content

Content that changes depending on who is visiting the website. For example, a user who has previously purchased an item may find similar products are displayed next time they visit the website, while a first-time visitor will see a different set of products.

Dynamic keyword insertion

An advertising tactic in which the search terms used in a query are placed into adverts shown on the search results page. This can help increase the relevancy of the adverts seen.

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Earned media

Sometimes called “free media”, this is publicity gained without paid-for advertising. For example, a piece of high quality content that is shared via word-of-mouth or social media.


A book published in digital form and often consumed on an eReader device such as a Kindle or Nook. eBooks are a long-form content type, often used as promotional items to generate leads.


Electronic commercial transactions carried out online, often through an online shop or Internet based store.

eCommerce SEO

Search engine optimization carried out by or for owners of Internet based stores and online shops.


Short for “electronic customer relationship management”, eCRM products are customer management tools that are generally more integrated with online platforms (such as websites) than traditional CRM systems.


An essential skill-set in content creation and curation. Editors help ensure that content fits a desired voice or house style, is fit for the required purpose and complements existing content.

Editorial brief

A document outlining what is required for a particular piece of content. Briefs are normally given to writers to help ensure they produce the content that is required. A brief can be specific to one piece of content, or can be broad, forming part of an overall content strategy.

Editorial calendar

A tool, often a document or software product, that is used to outline and plan the creation and publication of content within an organisation. For example, what content is needed and when and where it will be published.

Email marketing

The use of email to deliver a marketing campaign. Often there will be a website supporting the campaign. Email marketing may be short term, or long term, nurturing leads by providing content over months or even years.


The addition of blocks of code to a web page so that videos, images or other content that is hosted externally can be viewed by visitors to the page. For example a YouTube video could be embedded, allowing visitors to watch it without visiting the YouTube website.


An important consideration in content creation. Good content engages people’s emotions.

End user

The person or organisation that uses a service or product.


A content type delivered by email that normally includes news and information with few overt sales messages. eNewsletters may be used to cultivate leads over time or produce customer loyalty with the intention of getting repeat business.

Entrepreneur On Fire

A popular daily podcast interviewing global entrepreneurs founded and run by John Lee Dumas.

Entry page

The page that a user “lands on” when visiting a website – i.e. the first page that they visit.


Short for “earnings per click”. A measure of affiliate marketing success in which the amount earned is compared to the number of clicks made – usually this refers to the clicks made on an advert.


An important consideration in any kind of marketing activity. Unethical practices may not only have legal consequences but they are also likely to be penalised by search engines, as well as causing reputational damage.


This should be part of any marketing or content strategy. It is important to think about how the success (or otherwise) of any marketing activity will be evaluated.

Evergreen content

Content that remains of high value and quality over time, normally because it contains information that does not go out-of-date.

Exit page

The page that a user “leaves from” when visiting a website – i.e. the last page that they visit.

Experimental content

Content that is created in a style that departs from what is “normal” or expected of the company, or that is in a new and untested format. Such content may present both risks and opportunities.

External linking

Links that are made between different websites. This kind of link is important for SEO as they are used by search engines to determine a page’s ranking.


Short for “electronic magazine”. Ezines are magazines that are published online, and can either be delivered via email or through a website.

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Facebook application

An add-on to Facebook that extends its functionality. For example by allowing users to play online games.

Facebook marketing

Marketing strategies designed to make use of the Facebook social media platform.


An extremely popular social media networking site.


A tool that can assist content creators with research, for example providing up-to-date statistics on a topic of interest.


Short for “frequently asked questions”. This is a section found on many websites and can be a very useful format for providing help to website users.


A content type that is normally long-form, often delivering subjective views and/or detailed analysis on a particular topic.


See “RSS”.

Feed reader

A service that compiles RSS feeds and presents them to a user.


A high profile online business training hub established and run by Corbett Barr, Caleb Wojcik and Chase Reeves.

Flat rate

A pricing model that charges a standard rate, for example charging a fixed rate for impressions of an advert.


A word made by combining “fake” and “blog”. See “astroturfing”.

Focus group

A market research technique in which a sample of people are brought together and asked for their opinions, for example on a new product.


A term taken from printed newspapers that refers to the top half of a page – for a web page, this is the portion visible on a screen without scrolling down. The top half, or “above the fold” area, is considered to be the most valuable part of a page.


It is useful to consider format when creating content. Different formats (long-form or short-form text, images or video for example) may be appropriate at different times and for different audiences.


A type of website that is designed to facilitate conversation by allowing users to post and respond to messages.

Freelance writers

Writers who are commissioned on a temporary basis, normally to produce a specific piece of content.


An important consideration of content strategy: How often should content be published?

Frequency cap

A way of limiting the number of times a user will see a particular advert.

Fresh content

It is important to have the resources to produce fresh content, encouraging readers to return more often and ensuring your website remains relevant. Fresh content may also be rewarded by Google and improve a site’s ranking.

Freshness algorithm

A Google algorithm that returns the most recent content in response to a user search query. For example searching for “World Cup” in the year 2014 would return results relevant to the 2014 World Cup rather than previous competitions.


Sometimes called the “sales” or “conversion” funnel, this is an idea that represents the stages of a lead’s relationship with a company from prospect through to purchaser. The goal of most marketing is to attract new people to the funnel and then move them through it.

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Gain Higher Ground

The popular blog run by Rob Cornish that teaches you how to run an online business.

Gap analysis

Can refer either to a management principal in which the gap between actual and potential productivity is assessed, or to marketing, in which a product gap is identified: i.e. the needs that existing or potential customers have that are currently not being met.

Geographical targeting

The analysis of where website visitors are located in the world, and the use of this information to provide them with geographically tailored content or products.


A writer who does not receive credit for the content they produce. Sometimes no byline is attached the content (for example the general content found on most web pages) and sometimes the writing is credited to another person.


The aim of a website or piece of content, or the desired action website visitors should perform.

Google AdSense

A service from Google that enables website owners to generate income by hosting targeted adverts on their websites.

Google AdWords

An advertising service from Google that shows relevant adverts on the Google search results page.

Google Analytics

A service from Google that provides data and statistics on various measures of website success, such as visits, traffic and sales.

Google Hummingbird

A major update to the Google search algorithm made in 2013. The Hummingbird update aimed to improve the relevancy of search results by looking at the context in which keywords were used in the phrase entered in the search query.

Google juice

An informal term for the value assigned to inbound links by Google’s search engine algorithm.

Google News

Google’s news aggregation service. It allows users to search specifically for news stories.

Google Panda

An update to the Google search algorithm originally made in 2011 and periodically updated since then. The Panda update aimed to differentiate between “high-quality” and “low-quality” websites by penalising websites with poor or duplicated content.

Google Penguin

An update to the Google search algorithm made in 2012. The Penguin update was designed to penalise websites that use “black hat” SEO techniques.

Google search algorithm

The complex mathematical formulae and rules developed by Google to provide users of its search engine with the most relevant search results.


Google’s social network (pronounced “Google Plus”). Members can create “circles” of associated contacts, e.g. family members, and can use functions such as “Hangout” in order to communicate via video.


A name for Google’s “robot” or “crawler” which discovers and indexes web pages.

Graph Search

A search engine developed by Facebook that allows users to search Facebook using natural language queries, for example “Friends in London who like Harry Potter”.

Grey hat SEO

SEO practices that push the boundaries of what is considered to be honest in SEO. New updates to search engines mean “grey hat” techniques may quickly become treated as “black hat” and penalised by search engines.


An uprising or change in public feeling or sentiment, often related to external events but occurring without leadership or outside direction. New technologies such as social media can both cause and communicate a groundswell, for example the switch to online or mobile communication.

Guarantee images

Symbols or logos that are designed to reassure customers about the credibility or quality of a product.

Guest blogging

The publishing of blog posts that are written by people who do not own or normally contribute the blog, often industry experts.

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H1 tag

The HTML tag that identifies the primary heading on a web page, normally the title of the page. Heading tags are used by search engines to find pages with content relevant to a search query and to rank the page.

H2, H3 etc tags

See “H1 tag”. These are HTML tags that identify headings on a web page. They are hierarchical from H1 to H6, with lower numbers indentifying more important headings. Heading tags are used by search engines to find pages with content relevant to a search query and to rank the page.

Habitual decision making

A consumer behavioural term, describing purchases frequently made by consumers with little or no “shopping around”.

Halo effect

The positive effect conferred upon other products by a consumer’s positive feelings towards another product by the same company or brand.


A Google+ service that enables multiple users to simultaneously take part in video conferencing.

Hard bounce

An email that is not delivered due to a static issue such as an incorrectly spelt email address. Compare to “soft bounce”.

Hard sell

A high pressure sales technique.


Frequently used on Twitter and other social media, hashtags enable users to tag tweets, comments and content by prefixing descriptive words with the hash symbol (#).

Heading tags

Heading tags are HTML elements identifying heading text on a web page. Ranked from H1 to H6 (where H1 is the main heading), heading tags are used by search engines to find pages with relevant content and to rank pages, making them an important consideration for search engine optimisation (SEO).

Head-to-head competition

A type of business competition in which businesses compete directly, perhaps because they produce the same product or target the same demographics.

Heat map

A useful tool in web design that shows how users interact with a web page. Colours and patterns show which areas of the page are used most intensely.

Hidden objection

A sales term describing a consumer’s unvoiced reasons for not purchasing a product. Part of a salesperson’s skill-set is being able to understand hidden objections.

Hidden text

Text that is disguised on a web page by being the same colour as the background. Hidden text is a “black hat” SEO technique that attempts to make pages more visible to search engines by adding a high volume of keywords. It is now penalised by most search engines.


A visit to a particular web page. In the earlier days of the internet, hits were counted to assess the number of times a page had been visited. More complex analytical techniques are now used to assess a website’s success.


The main, central page of a website which is normally the page first seen by visitors following the site’s main URL. Homepages generally form a basic introduction to the company and have a menu of the main website sections.


The storage of a website or database on a server so that it can be accessed by users. Many website owners use external hosting companies to store their websites.

House list

An internal database (normally of customer contact details such as email addresses) that has been generated by the company’s own activities, as opposed to a list that has been bought from an external company.

House style

An internally agreed set of rules dictating the branding and tone that should be used in a company for all external content and communications. Normally these rules are gathered together into a document called the style guide.


Short for “hyper text mark-up language”. This is the computer language that web pages are built with.

HTML sitemap

A file or page that lists the page URLs (website addresses) for a website. HTML sitemaps can be used by website visitors to navigate a page. Compare to “XML sitemap”.


Short for “hypertext transfer protocol”. It underpins the whole of the world wide web and is used in the transfer of data between computers and servers.


Creators of an all-in-one inbound marketing software platform and system.


A clickable link in a web page or document that allows users to move between pages or document sections.

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Ignite Social Media

The North Carolina social media agency founded and managed by Jim Tobin.


Short for “instant messaging”, IM is an online technology that allows users to send (normally short) real-time messages when both parties are online at the same time. Also short for ‘Internet Marketing’ (see below).

IM Impact

The popular online marketing blog of entrepreneur Shane Melaugh.


Refers to each “view” of a web page or advert by individual people – i.e. the number of times it is seen. Some advertising models charge per impression.

Impression fraud

The process of falsely generating impressions of an advert.

Inbound link

A link from an external website to your website. Inbound links are extremely important as they are used by search engines to help determine a website’s importance and therefore its ranking in search results.

Indexed pages

Web pages that have been visited by a search engine’s “robots” or “crawlers”. Web pages that have been indexed in this way are then able to be retrieved by the search engine in response to a user query.

Industry news

News and developments relevant to a particular sector or industry. Such news may be of interest to your target audience and can therefore be the basis of interesting content.


People with a high profile in a particular area, often due to considerable expertise and their breadth of connections with other people. Such people may be able to influence the behaviour and opinions of many people.


A way of visually displaying complex information in a way that is easily understood, for example as a diagram.

Information architecture

Often abbreviated to “IA”, information architecture is concerned with designing information-containing environments (most often websites) in the most effective and useable way, often using principals from traditional architecture, human psychology and information science.


A popular social network that allows the sharing, editing and tagging of photos. Instagram was purchased by Facebook in 2012.

Integrated marketing

A marketing strategy that aims to unify various marketing mediums and techniques, helping ensure a brand is presented consistently and allowing different marketing activities to complement and reinforce each other.


An important aspect of content creation. Focusing on producing trustworthy, high-quality content is likely to pay off in the long term, producing value that is recognised both by visitors and search engines.


A key feature to keep in mind when designing websites and content. Create ways in which visitors can interact – both with the company and each other.

Internal link

A link between pages within the same website. These links can be used by search engines to discover content when indexing a website.

Internal site search

A feature present in most websites that allows a user to search within a website to find information of interest instead of having to manually browse through the website.

Internet Explorer

Often abbreviated to “IE”, this is the internet browser produced by Microsoft. It is one of the most widely used browsers in the world.

Internet marketing

Marketing and selling products online, often ‘information products’ such as ebooks and online courses.

Internet press release

A press release that is released online and may therefore have undergone search engine optimisation.


A useful format for presenting informative content in an engaging and accessible way, such as interviewing an industry expert on a relevant new development. Interviews can be text or video based.

IP address

Short for “internet protocol address”. This is a number used to uniquely identify computers that are part of a network.


Short for “interaction design”. IxD generally attempts to understand and resolve design issues in the field of human-computer interaction, i.e. the way in which people use computers and other digital devices.

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Specialised words that are used within a particular industry or sector and which are unlikely to be known by members of the public. Accessible content should avoid the use of jargon.


A commonly used programming language that is often used to create online applications.


A commonly used scripting language that is often used on websites. NB JavaScript and Java are not the same thing.


Short for “just in time”, an approach often used by retailers and manufacturers to avoid over-stocking and reduce waste. Products or raw materials are created or ordered only when required.

Job lot

An informal term for a mixed grouping of stock or products, often offered by retailers trying to get rid of end-of-line or surplus products.

Joint demand

Demand for a product or service that is affected by demand for another product or service: As demand for one increases or decreases, so does demand for the other.

Joint venture

An arrangement or alliance between two companies in which they work together towards a mutually beneficial aim that could not be easily be attained separately, for example entering a foreign market.


An open-source content management system (CMS) designed for publishing web content.

Judgement sample

A market research technique in which a non-random sample is selected based on expert opinion.


Often used in the context of a “press junket”: A conference or event in which members of the media, e.g. industry journalists, are brought together with the intention of creating positive publicity, often for the launch of a new product or service.


Another word for spam: Unsolicited marketing emails that are sometimes malicious in nature, for example containing malware.

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A term of Japanese origin that describes a philosophy of continuous improvement. The term is often used in relation to manufacturing processes but can be applied to any business process.


A term of Japanese origin often used in reference to lean or agile development processes. An important element of Kanban is to ensure tasks are easily seen by team members, for example by keeping them on a noticeboard (a rough translation of “kanban” is “noticeboard”).

Keep-out pricing

A pricing strategy in which large companies charge deliberately cheap prices in order to keep smaller competitors from entering the market. (Smaller companies are unlikely to be able to compete on price due to factors such as economy of scale.)

KEI analysis

Short for “keyword effectiveness index”. This is measure of a keyword’s value, and takes into account the number of people searching for that keyword and how many competing pages might be found by it.

Key account

An account a business holds with a client that provides a high proportion of the business’s income.

Key buying criteria

The main criteria a buyer considers when making a buying decision.

Key buying influential

Individuals or organisations that have the ability to influence the buying decisions of others.

Key items

The products or items that perform well, i.e. the “best sellers”.

Key performance indicator

Often abbreviated to “KPI”, these indicators are measurements used by organisations to determine how well they are doing. What is being measured will vary depending on the organisation, but could include values such as sales figures, income in a time period or customer complaints.

Key phrase

Similar to a “keyword” but consisting of more than one word, this is a phrase that is expected to drive traffic to a website or be indexed by search engines.

Key prospects

Potential customers who hold a great deal of buying power.


A word intended to capture two important elements of writing for the web: “keywords” and “quirkiness” – i.e. giving content personality and helping it stand out from the crowd.

Keyword density

A measure of the number of keywords used in a piece of content relative to the total number of words. Overuse of keywords can lead to unreadable content that may be penalised by search engines.

Keyword frequency

A count of how often a keyword is used in a piece of content.

Keyword ranking

The position at which a keyword ranks when queried in a search engine. The higher the rank, the better.

Keyword research

The process of finding the most appropriate and highest value keywords (i.e. those that will rank highly and draw the greatest volume of appropriate traffic).

Keyword stemming

Producing variants on a keyword by adding prefixes or suffixes to the keyword or using similar words. For example “garden”, “gardening” and “gardener” all have the same stem.

Keyword stuffing

Attempting to fit as many keywords as possible into a web page. This can result in low-quality, unreadable content. Using keywords naturally is preferable, and more likely to be rewarded by search engines.


The word or words typed into a search engine by a user to find web pages of interest. These are of critical concern for online marketers as they are the main way customers find a website. Content marketers should aim to create content that reflects what users are searching for.

KISS principle

Short for “keep it simple, stupid”, or more politely “keep it simple and straightforward”. The KISS principal is a reminder that simpler solutions are often better than complicated ones. It is helpful to keep in mind when creating content.


An online service that provides its users with a “Klout score” that represents their influence in various social media

Knocking copy

Advertising or content that criticises a competitor’s product, often comparing it unfavourably with the company’s own.

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Landing pages

A page specifically designed to capture a visitor’s contact details (e.g. through a form) or produce a particular desired behaviour (e.g. signing up). Landing pages are often standalone pages designed to capture leads produced by an advertising campaign or other promotion.


A prospective customer. Also see “qualified lead”.

Lead generation

The activity of finding new prospective customers. Lead generation can either be performed in-house, or by a third party.

Lead management

The process of assessing and organising leads.

Lead nurturing

The process of communicating with leads and attempting to convert them into new customers.

Lead scoring

The process of assessing and ranking new leads to determine the likelihood that they will become new customers. May also involve deciding on the best method to approach them.

Lean content

An approach to content creation that prioritises minimisation, clarity, impact, responsiveness and effectiveness. Lean content may be produced iteratively, with “lessons learnt” fed back into the content creation process, increasing the quality and effectiveness of future content.

Lifecycle stages

A framework for understanding and managing a customer’s relationship with a company, for example from their initial contact through to purchase and beyond. Content should be created with different lifecycle stages in mind – i.e. it should be context specific.


A clickable website address that, when clicked, takes the user to a new web page. Links are normally presented as underlined and/or differently coloured text.

Link bait

Content that is designed with the specific aim of encouraging readers to link to it from other websites or social media. Such content may be deliberately provocative or just designed to produce maximum interest.

Link building

The set of activities and techniques used by online marketing professionals to generate inbound links (i.e. links from other websites). Having many of these links should help a website rank more highly in search engine results.

Link checker

A software tool that checks if the links present in a website actually work.

Link exchange

A marketing technique in which a group of similar websites agree to place links to each other on their pages, normally in the form of banner adverts.

Link farm

A website designed to increase the ranking of a particular web page by holding many inbound links to that page. This is a dishonest or “black hat” SEO technique and is penalised by search engines.

Link popularity

A measure used in search engine ranking that is based on the quality and number of inbound links to a website. Recent updates to Google mean that reciprocal links are no longer included in this measure.

Link profile

All of the inbound and outbound links for a particular website. A website’s link profile is used by search engines to determine the website’s “importance” and how well it will rank in search results.

Link reclamation

The identification and correction of inbound links that may have been broken due to changes in the address of the page being linked to.

Link rot

The process by which links may stop working over time, for example when web pages move locations or get deleted meaning the address that has been linked to is no longer correct.


A social networking site for professionals and businesses, on which business profiles, individual CVs and professional skills can be posted.

Load time

The time it takes for a web page to fully display when visited. Long loading times are seldom a problem now that most internet connections are much faster than previously.

Local search

Results of a search engine query that are geographically constrained, either due to user intent (a location was included in the query) or because local results were implied by the search query – for example a user searching for “restaurant” probably intends to find restaurants close to their location.

Long-tail keywords

Long, and therefore often more specific, keyword phrases. For example “second hand garden furniture” is a more specific keyword phrase than “furniture” or even “garden furniture”. Long phrases are searched for less frequently, but tend to produce more relevant traffic.

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Marketing automation

The use of software tools to manage aspects of the marketing process and automate repetitive tasks. Many tools include analytical features that can help improve marketing efficiency.

Marketing mix

A marketing concept that normally focuses on four critical elements of marketing: the product, its price, the place it will be sold, and how it will be promoted.

Marketing plan

A document (or set of documents) outlining a company’s overall marketing strategy and the objectives that are to be achieved.


A popular technology and online-media blog founded in 2005.


The combining of content from multiple sources. For example pulling in information from both Wikipedia and Google Maps onto one web page.

Mass customisation

An approach that combines the efficiency of mass production with the marketing techniques of personalisation and tailoring. For example, software products may be designed to have customisable elements, meaning the same product can be reconfigured by its users.


A term coined by the evolutionary biologist and author Richard Dawkins. A meme is a unit of cultural evolution, commonly a phrase or image that is quickly passed from person to person and which may “mutate” or change as it is spread, producing new variants.


Occurrences of the use of a company or brand name, for example in online conversations or articles. Many companies monitor their mentions, allowing them to respond, especially if they are mentioned in a negative context.

Meta data

A general term for data that is describing data. Meta data or meta tags can be used to describe non-text-based content types such as images and videos that would otherwise be difficult to search for.

Meta element

A piece of structured data that provides information about the content of a web page. Meta elements may be used by search engines to better categorise a page’s content.

Meta keywords or keyword tag

An attribute of a web page’s meta element. In the early days of SEO, the keyword attribute was frequently used, however today search engines are unlikely to give much consideration to this tag, taking keywords directly from the page instead.

Meta-search engines

Search tools that allow multiple search engines to be queried simultaneously.


A measure that is used to evaluate success. For example “unique visitors to a website” is one of several metrics used to evaluate the success of a website or marketing campaign.


The sharing of short but usually frequently messages or news items. An example is Twitter, a microblogging platform that limits messages to 140 characters.

Microsoft Search Alliance

An alliance between Microsoft and Yahoo that brought together aspects of each company’s search engine business, forming the Yahoo Bing Network.

Middle of the funnel

A section of what is commonly referred to as the “sales funnel”: an idea representing the stages of a lead’s relationship with a company from potential prospect through to purchaser. The middle of the funnel is the intermediate stage, where leads are assessed and qualified.

Mini browser

A specialised internet browser designed to be used on a mobile device such as a smartphone.

Mirror sites

A duplicate of an existing website that is held on a different server to the original website. Mirror sites may be implemented when the original server is not able to cope with the volume of traffic received by the website.


Refers to various aspects of accessing online content via wireless handheld devices such as smartphones. “Mobile” can describe both the devices themselves and the behaviours related to accessing content in this way.


The ultimate aim of most marketing: How will income be generated from an activity or product?

Multipurpose content

Content that has been designed to be reused and reformatted, perhaps by structuring it (for example with XML) so that it can be easily transferred and manipulated.

Multivariate testing

Unlike AB testing which only compares one aspect of a website at a time, multivariate testing uses more complex statistical methods to allow multiple aspects to be compared at the same time.

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Narrow and deep

An approach to content in which a narrow range of topics are covered but in great detail.

Native advertising

An advertising strategy in which online adverts are designed to be less intrusive, for example by feeling like a natural and native part of the website on which they appear.

Natural search

Also called “organic search”, this refers to search engine results which appear as a natural consequence of the user’s search term rather than paid-for placement.


The act of moving around a website, for example moving from one page to another by following links. Understanding how users navigate a website can improve web design and ensure they find the content they require.

Need profiling

A report of customer requirements, often gathered during discussions with a customer about their needs.

Negative SEO

A malicious form of SEO which is often undertaken in order to damage a competing website’s search ranking. For example, deliberately creating inbound links from “bad neighbourhood” websites such as link farms to the competing website will damage that website’s search ranking.


A word made by combining “net” (as in “internet”) and “etiquette”. Netiquette refers to online social conventions and rules that do not exist “offline” – for example the use of capital letters in online messages indicates shouting, but does not normally have this meaning in printed content.

New media marketing

A form of marketing which focuses on social media and marketing via online communities.

New visitor

A visitor to a website who has not previously visited the website (either in the time period being analysed, or at any time).


An informal term for a person who is unfamiliar with the internet and its conventions. Also called “noob”.

News reader

A service that aggregates news from various sources and presents them to a subscribed user. See “RSS”.


A discussion forum that exists online for the purpose of discussing a particular topic. Messages are posted to the newsgroup and distributed to the group’s subscribers, often by email. Newsgroups have generally been superseded by other forms of online communication such as social media.


Producing content that relates to a breaking news story in order to take advantage of the additional publicity gained by public interest in that story.

Newsletter marketing

A form of email marketing in which emails containing news and company information are sent to leads and customers. See “eNewsletter”.

New-to-the-world product

A new product which is unlike any other already existing product.


Normally used to refer to small and specialised markets or demographics. Content produced for these groups will often be created by writers with expert or specific knowledge.

Niche marketing

Marketing that focuses on niche areas and audiences.

Niche product

A product that appeals to a small or specialist audience.

NoFollow link

An attribute that can be assigned to the HTML element of a link. NoFollow links tell search engines to ignore the link when calculating page rank, however the link can still be used by search engines to discover and index the page.


An attribute in the HTML meta element of a web page that instructs a search engine not to index a page. NoIndex links might be used on pages that a website owner wishes to be less visible, or to prevent the indexing of irrelevant pages.


Relating to the naming of things. Marketing nomenclature can involve the choice of new product names and words associated with that product, for example the menu options and feature names in a software product.

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Incentives, for example a content asset such as an eBook, that generate leads by persuading website visitors to enter their contact details on a landing page form in order to receive the content.


A retail strategy that considers a user at the centre of a cross-channel experience and offers optimized content and features to the user based on where they are within a journey or task.

Online press release

A press release that is released online and may therefore have undergone search engine optimisation. These may be read by members of the public as well as by journalists.

Online press room

A section of a website dedicated to information for journalists such as press releases and PR contacts.

Online reputation management

The management of a company or brand’s online profile by monitoring and responding to mentions (especially negative mentions) of the company or brand in external media such as blog posts and reviews.

On-page SEO

SEO techniques that are applied to a web page, rather than externally (such as the creation of inbound links to the page). On-page SEO may include appropriate keywording in high-quality content and use of HTML page meta tags.

Open Graph

A protocol used by website developers that adds tags to images and other content on web pages, allowing these web pages to be understood by social media platforms such as Facebook.

Open rate

A measure of how many emails sent in an email marketing campaign are actually opened (and hopefully read) by recipients.

Open source

Source code that is freely available to be used and adapted by other developers, often under a Creative Commons or similar license.


A set of technologies and data formats that allow search results to be syndicated and aggregated. OpenSource was originally developed by Amazon in 2005.

Operational CRM

The use of a customer relationship management (CRM) product to facilitate public-facing operational aspects of a business such as contact liaison and customer care.


A way for a website visitor or customer to explicitly subscribe to a service or contact method, such as email newsletters. Contacting people who have not opted-in may breach the marketing guidelines of the Information Commissioner’s Office (in the UK).


A way for person on an email mailing list or other contact list to unsubscribe from receiving future communications. Continuing to contact people who have opted-out may breach the marketing guidelines of the Information Commissioner’s Office (in the UK).

Organic search

Web pages returned by search engines because of how well they match the keyword or keyword phrase searched for, as opposed to web pages that are returned because of paid-for advertising.

Original content

Content that is new and unique. High-quality original content is an important element of online content marketing. Such content is not only more useful to website visitors, but is also favoured by search engines, with duplicated content often being penalised by most search engine algorithms.

Original referrer

The website address from which a visitor arrives at another website for the first time.


Short for “online reputation management”.

Outbound links

Links that point to a different website.


Actively engaging with visitors and prospects, for example by asking for their feedback or opinions. This can be a useful tactic to nurture relationships with new and existing customers.


One of the original providers of pay-per-click advertising which was purchased by Yahoo in 2003 and is now known as Yahoo Search Marketing.

Owned media

Content that is delivered through a company’s own marketing channels, such as their blog, emails or website.

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Page exit ratio

A measure of how many people leave a website from a page in relation to how many times that page is viewed. People may leave because they have found what they were looking for or because the content was not engaging, so this metric needs to be interpreted with care.

Page tags

A label or descriptor attached to a web page (e.g. in the HTML page element) that helps users find content and helps search engines categorise a page.

Page title

A heading that describes the content of a page. Often enclosed within the HTML H1 heading tag which is used by search engines to categorise and rank pages. The page title is also normally visible to viewers so should be chosen with care.

Page views

The number of times a page has been seen by visitors, or more specifically, the number of times a page has been requested from a server.

Page views per visit

Often used to assess how interesting and navigable a website is by comparing page views to the number of visitors. High page views can indicate a visitor was interested in the content, or that they had trouble finding what they wanted, and so caution is required when interpreting this value.


The Google algorithm that determines a page’s ranking in Google’s search results.

Paid inclusion

Also called “pay-for-inclusion” (PFI), this is a paid-for SEO technique in which website pay to be indexed by search engines in the hope that they will rank higher in search results. May be used for large sites with many pages.

Paid search

The opposite to “natural” or “organic” search, paid search is an advertising technique in which search engine providers are paid to place adverts on their search results page. The adverts that appear are related to the search query used.

Pass on rate

A measure of how many times a piece of content is passed on or shared with other people.


A word made by combining “permanent” and “link”. A permalink is a link that points directly to a piece of content, often a blog, and should remain unchanged so that the same piece of content can be accessed in the future.

Permission marketing

Marketing that takes place after potential customers have explicitly given their permission to be contacted in such a way. See “opt-in”.


A useful device in planning a product, website or marketing campaign. A persona (also known as an avatar), is an imagined personality type who is likely to be found in your audience. Imagining your proposed content etc from the point of view of this persona can help you to craft an appropriate product. Read our guide on How To Create a Customer Avatar In 5 Simple Steps.


A method of customising content, products or communications so that they feel “custom made” for a particular person or group of people. For example, addressing contacts by name in an email is a simple type of personalisation.


A fraudulent and generally illegal practice in which people are directed to websites that attempt to gain access to their personal information such as credit card details. Phishing websites often mimic the look and content of a legitimate site.


A popular social media network which emphasises the sharing of visual content such as photographs.


The dishonest act of taking another person’s work and pretending it is your own. Websites that copy or plagiarise content from elsewhere are normally penalised by search engines.


Sometimes called “add-ons”, plug-ins are pieces of software that extend the functionality of an already installed piece of software. For example, many internet browsers have plug-ins that add features such as password management or currency conversion.


An audio file made available online and which is normally part of a series such as a radio show or an educational course. Podcasts can be downloaded and listened to later.


A smaller window that appears in front of the window in which a user is browsing a website. Popups normally contain adverts or calls-to-action, that, if clicked on, will take the user to another website or page. They are generally unsolicited by the website user.


Short for “pay per click”. This is a commonly used advertising technique in which websites or search engines include adverts on their pages, charging a fee to the company being advertised each time the advert is clicked on by a website user.

Press release

A specialised content type designed to provide journalists with information and the company’s official position on an announcement or news story of interest.

Programmatic advertising

Programmatic advertising is the process of using software programmes to automate the purchasing of digital advertising, rather than manually negotiating ad deals yourself.

Promoted content

Often used to refer to content which a company has paid to have appear on a third party website. Sometimes also called “sponsored content”.


An important part of marketing. A promotion can either refer to a marketing campaign in which an “offer” is used to attract consumer interest, or more generally to the act of drawing attention to existing content or services.

Pushing Social

A popular social media and digital marketing blog run by Stan Smith.

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Short for “questions and answers”. A Q&A can be a useful content format for providing informative content in an engaging way. They are often used for presenting the results of interviews.


Qik was an online video-sharing service that allowed users to stream video from mobile devices. Acquired by Skype in 2011, the service was retired in 2014.

QR Code

Short for “quick response code”. QR codes are two-dimensional barcodes (i.e. information is held both horizontally and vertically). In marketing, QR codes are mainly used to hold information such as website addresses. These can be scanned by smartphones to take a user to a website.

Q-sort technique

A method used in market research to understand people’s subjective opinions. Research participants are asked to sort and rank statements. The results are used to find groups of people with similar opinions or views.

Qualified lead

The contact details of a prospective customer who has shown both an interest in a product or service and the ability to purchase it.

Qualified traffic

Visitors arriving at a website who are actively interested in the service or product offered by the website. Effective marketing should aim to attract this kind of visitor.

Qualitative data

Data that cannot be directly measured with numbers. Examples might include people’s thoughts and opinions on a product, or non-numerical properties such as colour or taste.

Qualitative forecasting

A method of predicting future sales based on opinion (e.g. from industry experts or sales staff) rather than data.

Qualitative media effect

The impact that the form of media in which a message or advert is delivered can have on how it is perceived. For example, an advert placed in a luxury lifestyle magazine may be perceived differently to the same advert placed on a freely distributed flyer.


An important aspect of content creation. High quality content increases user trust and is also more likely to be shared and linked to, helping the web page’s search engine ranking.

Quality assurance

A stage of the content creation lifecycle in which newly created content is methodically checked to ensure it is of high quality.

Quality controls

Processes and policies put in place to ensure that both content and the methods used to produce it meet a required level of quality.

Quality creep

The counter-productive process by which improvements made to a product over time increase the cost of the product beyond what is acceptable to consumers.

Quality score

Generally used in pay per click (PPC) advertising. Search engines such as Google apply a quality score to adverts to determine where they will be displayed on a page of search results.


A company providing details of website traffic and visitor demographics, helping to profile a website’s audience.

Quantitative data

Data that can be measured numerically. Examples might include the numbers of visitors to a website or the time they spend on certain activities.


An key consideration in content creation. It is important to produce the right amount of content and to publish it at the right frequency for your audience.


The word or words (also known as “keywords”) typed into a search engine by a user to find web pages of interest. Content should be written to reflect the sorts of things that people are actually looking for.


Posing questions can be an effective way to structure content in a format that engages users. In general, content should be written with a visitor or customer question in mind – i.e. content should aim to fill a knowledge gap.


A leading online business and marketing blog founded and run by Neil Patel.


A software product produced by Apple Inc. that can play media files such as video and music.


Using quotes in content such as press releases is a useful way to add interest and credibility.


The design and layout of most keyboards used in most western countries (Latin alphabet). The name comes from the letters in the top left corner of the keyboard.

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The position at which a web page is displayed in a list of search engine results. Search engine optimisation techniques are used to increase a page’s ranking. High ranking pages are found at or near the top of a list of search results.

Ranking signal

The set of factors considered by a search engine when deciding on a page’s ranking.

Rational appeals in advertising

An advertising strategy that highlights the practical reasons for buying a product, such as value for money or functionality.

Rational buying motives

The practical reasons behind a buying decision, i.e. reasons that are not based on emotion.


The extent to which an advert is seen by the public, i.e. the number of different people who have seen the advert.


An important aspect of content creation. Effective content should be easy to read and understand. Using simple, jargon-free words will make your content more accessible to readers.

Reciprocal linking

An agreement between two websites to provide links to each other on their pages.


A visit to a website that is obtained via an external source, such as another website or blog that recommends visiting the website.

Remarketing or retargeting

An advertising strategy that displays targeted adverts on other websites when these websites are viewed by people who have previously visited your website. This service is offered by Google.

Repeat visitors

A visitor who has previously visited the same website, normally within a defined time period.


The adaptation of existing content allowing it to be used in other places or situations. For example, converting a press release into a blog post.

Reputation capital

A type of qualitative business asset comprised of various factors such as consumer trust and perceived product quality.

Responsive design

An approach to web design that attempts to ensure websites are easily viewable on a range of devices. For example by automatically resizing content to fit a smartphone screen.

Return visitor

A website visitor who has already previously visited the same website.

Revenue share

In affiliate marketing, this refers to the earnings that are shared between affiliates. For example, a website that earns revenue from new customers might pay a proportion of those earnings to the website that originally referred the customers.


Descriptions and opinions of a product, generated either by expert reviewers or the general public. Reviews can be a useful content type, attracting visitors looking for information on a particular product before purchasing it.

Right to be forgotten

Recently implemented by the EU and Argentina, this is a privacy protection concept that allows people to request the deletion of content and data relating to them from the internet.


Short for “return on advertising spend”. This is a quantitative measure of the revenue generated by a campaign vs the cost of the advertising involved.


A file which instructs a search engine’s “robots” (i.e. the code that assesses and indexes a web page) on how to search the page.


Short for “return on investment”. This is a quantitative measure of the profit generated vs the cost required to generate that profit.


Short for “really simple syndication”. RSS feeds gather and compile content from various sources, alerting subscribers to new content. This removes the need for users to continually visit pages of interest and manually check for new content.

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A widely used CRM and cloud computing company.


A joint effort by Microsoft, Google and Yahoo to develop and promote a set of shared standards for structured data markup. Content and data that is marked-up is much more accessible to search engines and also allows content to be more easily reused and reformatted.


A software tool that takes content from websites, often for the purpose of reusing the content elsewhere. Duplicated content is penalised by search engines.

Search algorithm

The complex mathematical formulae and rules developed by search engine companies to provide users of their search engines with the most relevant results.

Search term

The word or words entered into a search engine by a user. Also known as “keywords” or “search query”.


A plug-in for the Firefox browser which provides users with information on how websites are performing, for example in terms of their search ranking.

Seasonal content

Content produced to tie-in with particular seasonal events, such as Valentine’s day or Christmas.


The initial distribution of a particular marketing message to a small group of people, often in the hope of priming the intended audience, for example by generating word-of-mouth buzz or initiating viral sharing.


The division of current or potential customers into categories with shared characteristics, for example age, gender, previous buying habits. Segmentation allows marketing messages to be targeted, increasing their effectiveness.


Normally used to refer to how people feel about a particular marketing message, product or brand – i.e. are their feelings towards it positive or negative. Sentiment could also refer to the tone of a piece of content.


Short for “search engine optimisation“. SEO is the professional discipline concerned with improving a website’s performance in search engines, making the page as easy to find and as visible as possible.


Short for “search engine results pages”. SERPs are the pages of results returned by a search engine after a search is run.


The period in which a visitor remains on a website – i.e. the length of time between a person entering and leaving a website.


The act of passing a piece of content or website link to another person, for example by forwarding an email or posting a link on Facebook.

Short URL

A shortened version of a website address used instead of a long and unwieldy address. Both the long and short link will take a user to the same web page. Short URLs are often used on Twitter, where space is limited.

Smart Passive Income

The online marketing and business blog of popular entrepreneur Pat Flynn.


Short-hand for all aspects of using or marketing on social media platforms. The advent of social media has altered the traditional marketing landscape, with marketing often being more about engaging with customers or potential customers than talking “at” them.

Social graph

A model representing all of a person’s online social connections, often used in the context of social media sites such as Facebook.

Social media

Online platforms designed to facilitate communication and content sharing between people who may or may not be connected in real life. Social media is hugely popular and has influenced the evolution of internet technologies. Popular social media sites include Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Social Media Examiner

The popular blog that helps businesses master social media marketing, founded by Michael Stelzner.

Social Media Explorer

The social media and digital marketing agency and blog founded by Jason Falls.

Social optimisation

The act of designing content so that it is both easy to share and likely to be shared. Icons that allow readers to post content directly to social media websites can be added to web pages and blogs.

Social proof

The idea that people’s conceptions of right and wrong are influenced by what other people in their social circle say to be right or wrong, or by what other people do.

Social signals

The consideration of social media by search engines when determining the importance or ranking of a web page. For example, the number of “likes” a page has on Facebook may affect its ranking.

Social Triggers

The massively popular internet marketing strategy blog founded by Derek Halpern.

Soft bounce

The failure to deliver an email due to reason that is normally temporary, such as a full inbox or a server error. Compare to “hard bounce”.


Generally used to refer to unsolicited marketing emails, spam has also come to be used in reference to any online content of low quality with an obvious sales message.


One of several names given to the program used by search engines to discover and index web pages. May also be called “crawler” or “robot”.

Split testing

See “AB Testing”.


A word combined from “spam” and “blogs”. Splogs are blogs on which content is artificially constructed by software that takes content from elsewhere. Their aim is to attract visitors via search engines, normally to generate revenue from advertising.

Sponsored links

A paid-for search result used as a form of advertising.


Any individual or organisation that has an interest in, or who might be affected by, the actions or plans of another organisation.

Stories or storytelling

One of the most powerful content types. Humans have told stories for thousands of years. Building narrative and emotion into your content is an excellent way to engage and motivate readers.

Streaming media

Media such as songs or TV shows that can be watched over the internet without the need to download the entire media file and store it locally.

Sweating your content assets

A term that refers to getting the maximum use out of existing content, for example by reusing it. Older, archived content can still have value. Good content curation should ensure this value is recognised and maximised.


Short for “search experience optimisation”. This is a concept which goes beyond SEO by taking a visitor’s experience of using a website into account in order to plan pages that maximise conversion rates.

Syndicated content

Content from one provider that is made available to websites that have subscribed to receive such content. See “RSS”.

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Usually used to refer to multiple open web pages in a browser (each open page has its own “tab”). Can also refer to branded company pages on Facebook. Recent updates to Facebook’s design mean tabs are less prominent.


A label or descriptor attached to a web page, blog post, image or video that summarises its content. Tags can help users find content and can also help search engines categorise a page.


A marketing technique in which marketing messages or products are tailored for a specific audience. This requires preliminary research to understand the audience and any groupings or segments that exist within it.


An approach to content or information management in which items, such as web pages, are grouped and classified in a hierarchical structure.

Technical writer

A professional writer who specialises in producing documentation such as user guides for products and processes. Technical writers translate complicated and often jargon-heavy information into accessible content.


Using content templates can help improve content efficiency and consistency.

Tentpole content

A prominent and high-value piece of content which draws traffic to a website, potentially helping users discover other less-visible items of content.

The Sales Lion

The highly popular content marketing blog of inbound marketer and speaker, Marcus Sheridan.

Third party cookie

See “cookie”. Third party cookies are cookies (small text files) that are saved onto your computer or browser by a website other than the one you are visiting. Third-party cookies are normally used to build up a profile of a user’s internet browsing habits (i.e. which websites they visit).


An individual or organisation with expertise in an area and the ability to produce original ideas and theories in that area, shaping its future direction and influencing other people. In content marketing, thought-leadership involves using high-quality, original content to position a company as an innovative and authoritative voice.

Title tags

The use of HTML heading tags (see “H1”) to specify the heading of a web page. This header normally contains SEO keywords and is also visible to website visitors. It should clearly sum-up the page’s content and aim to entice readers.

Top of the funnel

A section of what is commonly referred to as the “sales funnel”: an idea representing the stages of a lead’s relationship with a company from prospect to purchase. The top of the funnel is the first stage, normally involving a content offer to attract visitors and convert them into leads.

TopRank Blog

The renowned online marketing blog set up and run by Lee Odden.

Touch Point

Also called “contact point”, this is every interface between a customer and a company or brand. For example, websites, social media, print advertisements and telephone customer support.


Often used in blogs, this allows blog or website owners to see when another blog or website has linked to their content.


Monitoring and reporting on a campaign, for example by recording who a campaign was sent to and how they responded, or monitoring how brand awareness changes over time.

Tracking codes

Small pieces of code that are added to websites to allow analytic programs (e.g. Google Analytics) to monitor how visitors use a website.

Traditional media

Mostly non-digital or offline media (i.e. media platforms that existed before the internet), such as TV, magazines and newspapers.


The amount of data sent or received by a website. More generally “traffic” is used to refer to the number of visitors a website receives. A website with high traffic is one that receives many visits.


One of several names given to the program used by search engines to discover and index web pages. May also be called “crawler”, “robot” or “spider”.


A slang term for an internet user who posts deliberately provocative or disruptive content, often in the form of comments on articles or responses in discussion forms. Also sometimes used to refer to anyone who posts insulting or offensive content.


An important consideration in content marketing. Publishing high-quality, accurate content will help to build your audience’s trust.


Formed from the words “Twitter” and “webinar” (which is itself formed from the words “web” and “seminar”). Refers to use of Twitter to comment on an online broadcast or webinar, often while the broadcast is happening.


A very popular social media and microblogging platform on which users can post short 140 character long posts, including links to websites and images. Many companies have a Twitter account, allowing them to publish news quickly and interact with the public.

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Short for “user generated content”. This is content created by members of the public rather than by employed professionals.

Ultimate user

The consumer or user of a product or service.


Marketing some or all of a company’s products or services separately. Content, for example an eBook, could be unbundled by publishing small pieces separately. For example, chapters or short sections published as blog posts.

Undifferentiated marketing

Marketing that is not segmented or tailored – i.e. everyone is presented with the same message or advert.

Unique content

An important part of content marketing. Unique, original content is more valuable to website visitors and may improve a page’s search rankings.

Unique forwarders

The number of different people who forwarded an email on to other people.

Unique visitors

The number of different people who have visited a website (one or more times) in the time period being analysed.

Unit cost

The total cost required to produce one item of a product.

Unit margin

The difference between the cost of making one item of product and how much that item is sold for. For example a product that has an item cost of £1.00 and is sold for £1.50 has a 50p margin.

Unit market share

For products sold in a particular market, this is the number sold by a particular company. For example if 100 items were sold and 50 were sold by one company and 50 by another, both companies would have a unit market share of 50%.

Universal search

A type of search that produces search results containing content from various sources and in various formats, such as news, images and video.


An operating system commonly used by internet servers.


Short for “uniform resource locator”. The address of a website – i.e. the information that is shown in a browser’s address bar. For example “https://www.google.com”.

URL rewriting

The process of using alternative URLs that are shorter and easier to read than the original. This is also done to make URL’s more search-engine friendly, for example by including keywords in the URL rather than numbers or encoded information.


An important consideration of web design. Usability refers to how easy it is for a visitor to use and navigate a website. For example, can they find the product they are interested in and easily buy it?


Content should be useful to website visitors, for example by giving them the information they want.

User acceptance testing

Often abbreviated to “UAT”. This is the process of checking that new products, services or features can actually be used by the customer in the intended way. Some UAT may be done by employees before release for testing by actual users.

User advocate

In marketing, this is an individual (normally an existing customer) who is strongly positive about a brand or product and willing to act as a spokesperson. See “brand evangelist”.

User experience

Often abbreviated to “UX”. In general, user experience refers to the experiences and feelings a user has when interacting with a website or product. UX also refers to the professional field concerned with developing ways to research and improve the user experience.

User friendly content

A key consideration of content marketing. All content should be created with the end user in mind.

User interface

The visible, normally graphical, face of a software program which is used to access the functions of the program. Designing user-friendly interfaces is a key part of web design, for example when designing an online shopping function.

User research

Exploring and analysing current and potential users and their user experience in order to develop products and services to meet their user needs.

User testing

The process of testing that the intended end user can actually use the new product or service being developed and gathering their feedback to improve the design.


The individuals or organisations that will actually make use of the product or service on offer.


Short for “unique selling point”. This is the aspect of a product or service that makes it different to everything else on offer – i.e. why should a person buy this product and not a competitor’s?

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Vampire effect

Occurs when themes or images in an advert distract from or overpower the product or brand being advertised. People might remember parts of the advert, but not the product of brand. Use of celebrities or sexual or unusual imagery can all distract from the brand being advertised.

Variable costs

A production cost that varies in relation to the volume of product being produced. For example, raw material costs.

Veblen effect

A seemingly irrational consumer behaviour where consumers purchase highly-priced products as a status symbol rather than buying similar but lower-priced products.


An individual or organisation that sells or supplies a product or service.


A new company or business entity.


A channel or platform on which content can be provided.

Vertical channel conflict

Disagreement between the different stages of a marketing channel, such as between the wholesaler and the retailer. For example a retailer may become dissatisfied with a wholesaler if the products ordered are not delivered quickly enough.

Vertical integration

A management strategy in which all of the functionality required to produce and sell a product is owned by the same corporate entity. For example, a manufacturer might own the facility that provides the raw materials as well as the shops in which the product is sold.

Vertical search

A specialised search engine that searches only a narrow range of content (on a specific topic) or a specific content type. This type of search should help to produce more relevant results.

Video blogging

A form of blogging in which posts consist of videos rather than text.

Video marketing

The use of video to advertise or market a brand. Video content may not always contain an obvious sales message but may be used instead to build and nurture an audience and encourage sharing via social media.


A video sharing website.


An online service owned by Twitter than allows users to record, post and share short videos (up to six seconds in length).

Viral marketing

The use of word-of-mouth methods to quickly spread a piece of content or an idea. Something that “goes viral” can quickly reach a huge number of people. The rapidity and connectivity of Twitter or Facebook aid the spread of viral content.


The likelihood that something will be shared virally. It is difficult to predict whether or not something will “go viral”. Such events often seem to happen spontaneously and are not easy to control by marketers.

Visit duration

How long a person spends on a website from the moment of entering it to leaving it.

Visit referrer

The external website that a website visitor arrived from.

Visitor session

The period of time in which a visitor remains on a website – i.e. the length of time between them entering and leaving a website.

Visual content

Content such as photos, videos or charts.


Formed from the words “video” and “blog”. A vlog is a blog that consists of video posts rather than text.


An important element to consider when creating content. This is the tone or personality of a piece of content. The voice used should match the brand and be used consistently.


Short for “voice over internet protocol”. This is the set of rules that allow audio content to be streamed online, for example internet telephone calls.

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Short for “world wide web consortium”. Founded by Tim Berners-Lee, W3C is a group of organisations that aim to develop and promote international standards for the web. W3C also provide free online courses on many topics, such as common programming languages used in web development.

Web 2.0

Refers to a shift in internet technologies and usage that began at the end of the 1990s and mainly revolved around increased interactivity, the production of user-generated content and the development of social media.

Web analytics

The collection and analysis of web-related data such as website visits and navigation to provide information and insights. Analytics can be used to assess the success of existing content and plan the development of new content.

Web application

A software tool or product that is accessed and used within a web browser rather than a computer desktop. For example, Google Docs.

Web content

Any content, such as written articles, images or video files that is accessible online.

Web design

A field which brings together other disciplines such as computer programming, graphic design and information architecture to design and build websites.

Web presence

A company’s online “real estate”, for example their website and social media accounts.


Formed from the words “web” and “seminar”. Refers to a seminar that is held online, often using video conferencing.

Website curation

The management of online content such as web pages and blog posts, including archived content. Curators are involved in deciding what content to promote to visitors and where to place it.

White hat SEO

Legitimate search engine optimisation techniques that will not be penalised by search engines.

White list

Normally used to refer to a list of email addresses that are marked as “safe” by an email service provider and therefore will not be classed as spam.

Whitepaper marketing

A type of long-form content that usually contains in-depth reporting on a particular topic. Whitepapers can be a useful content type for building a company’s reputation as an authority in their sector.


A small software tool that performs a specific function or provides a specific service.


An online content management system that facilities collaborative use and editing of content. Wikipedia is probably the best known example of a wiki.


A simplified diagram of a website’s structure, often used when developing or altering a website.

Word of mouse

A spin on the phrase “word of mouth”. Refers to content and news that is spread online.


The spread of information from person to person, as opposed to information that is spread from organisations to people.


A popular online blogging and website creation service that enables users without technical web development skills to publish their own websites.


A keyword research service.

Writing for the web

An important skill for any content marketing. Writing for the web differs from writing for print publications. This is something that should always be taken in account when planning and developing new content.


Short for “world wide web” and often called simply “the web”. Refers to all of the content that is accessible over the internet.

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Short for “extensible mark-up language”. This is a way of marking-up datasets and structured documents allowing them to be transferred between applications. It is commonly used on the web, for example to transfer data from an underlying data store to a web page.

XML feeds

This is a use of the XML language which acts in a similar way to an RSS feed, generating XML files as required. For example, an XML file of new products might be produced weekly and sent to a subscribed website, updating their product database.

XML sitemap

An XML file that lists all of the pages on a website. These can be used by search engines to assist them in indexing a website. Compare to “HTML sitemap”.

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A search engine founded in 1994.

Yield management

A pricing strategy that uses flexible pricing and an understanding of consumer behaviour to sell products for maximum revenue.


A content marketing methodology that involves helping not selling, as explained in the book of the same name by Jay Baer.


A popular video hosting and sharing site founded in 2005 and purchased by Google in 2006.

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Z chart

A type of chart frequently used in business that plots sales over a year, with three breakdowns: totals for a period (e.g. monthly), cumulative totals and a moving annual total.


A German word loosely translated as “spirit of the age”. The zeitgeist is a general understanding of the ideas, opinions and interests that collectively seem to define a particular time period.


A software plug-in that suggests links to relevant content and may therefore be helpful to content marketers.

Zero level channel

A marketing channel in which the manufacturer sells directly to the consumer without any intermediaries such as retailers.


An online platform that acts as a content marketplace, allowing organisations to commission and purchase content from writers.

Zone Pricing

A pricing strategy in which prices are affected by location, with customers in different areas being charged different prices. Prices may vary by location due to variable shipping costs or other overhead costs that are location dependent.

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In Conclusion: Content Marketing Glossary

I hope you enjoyed reading some of the definitions in our content marketing glossary. This is an ongoing project so we’ll keep it updated with new terms every year.

The content marketing world is an ever changing landscape, so we’ll be sure to include the latest on-trend definitions as and when they become popular.

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Content Marketing Glossary 2020 (Pin Me!)

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