Like many industries, online marketing has its own lingo and jargon that can sound like a foreign language to those not familiar with the field. These acronyms are meant to speed up and streamline the communication of thoughts and ideas related to internet marketing, but what’s the point in using them if the person you’re talking with doesn’t understand them or vice versa?

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SEO

Search Engine Optimization: The practice of getting a website to show up higher in search engines without paying for a higher placement.

PPC

Pay-Per-Click: Another way to bring additional traffic to a website but by paying search engines anywhere from a few cents to a few dollars. Search engines display a text ad (with a link) to an advertiser’s website at the top or side of the searcher’s search results. Advertisers only pay when the searcher clicks their ads. One of the most popular PPC networks is Google Adwords. Another one is Bing. Another common acronym that expresses the same idea is CPC, which stands for Cost Per Click. These acronyms tend to be used interchangeably.

SEM

Search Engine Marketing: Often used interchangeably for “paid services” providing visibility on search engines, like PPC. Search Engine Marketing is actually any effort you put forth to help your website show up in search engines. Since, SEO at its core is really marketing…

CRO

Conversion Rate Optimization: A website’s conversion rate is the percentage of people who take the desired action on the website. Common conversion points include buying a product through an ecommerce checkout process (sale), signing up for a free trial (lead), or registering to receive email newsletters (lead). By doing CRO testing, online marketers can identify points in the conversion process where visitors tend to bounce, or leave the conversion path, and proceed to take steps to remove friction from the process, and increase the number of people who successfully complete the conversion.

CTR

Click-Through Rate: The percentage of people that see the link to a website and actually proceed to click on it. An example of this would be: 100 people see a link and 10 people actually click on it – this would equal a 10% CTR. CTR is relevant in PPC, in email marketing and even in SEO.

CPM

Cost Per Thousand: Don’t let the “M” confuse you. It’s actually the Roman numeral for 1,000! Instead of paying for each click on an ad like in PPC (or Adwords) campaigns, advertisers pay the ad network on an impressions basis, meaning, every 1,000 times the ad displays. This method is popular for brand awareness and relaying messages to audiences. There are far more websites charging for advertising on a CPM basis vs. a CPC basis.

SERPs

Search Engine Result Pages: After a user searches for something on Google or Bing, the pages of links that are shown are called the SERPs. Both organic links, or sites that aren’t paying to show in search engines, and PPC ads are shown here together.

ROAS

Return On Ad Spend: A simple calculation that shows the number of dollars earned by each dollar spent on the corresponding advertising. An example: You spend $3,000 a month on a Google Adwords PPC campaign trying to acquire more sales and that $3,000 sum turns into $36,000 in revenue. To calculate the ROAS, divide 36,000 by 3,000 and multiply by 100 ((revenue/spend)*100) and you’ll have your answer: (1200%) a profit of $33,000. What if the number comes back negative? Say you spent that same $3,000 on Adwords but generated only $2,100 in revenue? After doing the ROAS calculation, the 70% you see means that that specific campaign isn’t profitable at that time: Your profit was -$900.