Digital Vocabulary 101 – What Are All These Terms About?

Michael Jenkins
Michael Jenkins

CEO - Shout Agency
[email protected]


The internet is filled with guides on digital marketing, which means it should be really easy to educate yourself on the topic without spending thousands on a beginner’s course. However, what a lot of blog writers fail to realize is that not everyone is familiar with all of the new-age digital marketing lingo.

If you’re struggling to figure out the difference between SEO, SEM and SERP then don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! In this guide, you’ll learn about 10 of the most common (and confusing) digital marketing terms. 

Let’s get started! 


SEM stands for search engine marketing. This a marketing technique that businesses use to drive traffic to their webpage through paid advertisements in search engines like Google. 

Businesses can run Google Adwords campaigns so that their website is placed at the top of the Google results pages. Every time the ad gets clicked, they pay a certain amount to Google Adwords. The amount they pay depends on the ‘CPC’ (cost per click) of the keyword the business chooses to target.


If you want your webpage to rank in Google without paying for SEM, then SEO is your best option.SEO stands for search engine optimization. This refers to the process of optimizing a webpage so that it is favored by the search engines and ranks high in the results pages. 

There are lots of different strands of SEO. There’s on-page SEO, which includes optimizing your content around your target keywords and making it as readable and informative as possible. There’s also off-page SEO, which encompasses things like site speed, domain authority, and site architecture. 


SERP stands for search engine results page. A search engine results page is the list of results that appears when you type a term into a search engine, i.e. Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc. If you want your webpage to rank first in the SERPs for the term ‘digital marketing genius’, you need to use SEO and create the best, most well-optimized piece of content related to that search term, or you could use SEM to place a paid ad.

At first glance, that sentence looks confusing, but once you know what all the acronyms mean, it all falls into place.


DA or domain authority is a score given to your website or ‘domain’ by the search engine algorithms. This score is calculated based on many different metrics like how many ‘backlinks’ you have and how authoritative your content is in your chosen niche. 

The higher your DA, the better as this will help your pages to rank in the SERPs. Each individual page on your site will also be given a similar score. This is known as page authority or PA.


A backlink is a link to your website from another website. Securing backlinks from other high-authority sites helps to convince the search engines that your site is legitimate and content-rich. This, in turn, can help you to build your domain authority. You can build backlinks by contacting website owners and guest posting on other people’s sites.


‘Impressions’ is a word used to describe how many times your ad or webpage appears to users. Using your website analytics software, you can track how many people saw your ad or page in the SERPs and how many people clicked them. Impressions are always higher than clicks as not everyone will click on your page or advertisement just because they’ve seen it.


‘Clicks’ is a term used to refer to the amount of time your ad or page was physically clicked by an internet user. For paid advertisements, you’ll be charged a set fee every time somebody clicks your ad and this is referred to as PPC – pay per click.


A conversion is when somebody completes the action you wanted them to when they visited your website. For example, if your website is selling fishing nets and someone buys one, this would be classed as a conversion. Conversions may also include people signing up to an email list, registering for a membership, or downloading something from your site. 

Tracking your conversions is a good way to work out what digital marketing tactics are working best for you. For example, if most of your conversions are coming from a paid ad, you might decide to continue running your ad for longer and spend less money on your other campaigns.


A keyword is a simple as it sounds. It refers to the key words or phrases that your customers are searching for, and that you want your website content to rank for. 

For example, if you have a webpage about ‘digital marketing tips’, then you would make this your keyword and optimize your content around it. By doing this, your page would have more chance of being visible to people searching for this specific term or others that are similar to it.

Landing Page

A landing page is a page on your site that is specifically designed to help convert visitors to your website. It’s like a gateway page that will encourage people to explore your site more or do something specific like purchase a product or sign up for your newsletter.

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