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Glossary of Common Online Marketing Terms

In the online marketing world, there’s a lot of terminology and sometimes it can get confusing. There are terms like SEO, SEM, PPC, SERP, CPC, CTR and more. You might be thinking, “What’s it all mean?” We’re here to explain these terms and make digital marketing a little easier to understand.


SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and may be one of the most known terms amongst the others. SEO is the monthly act of pursuing first page rankings on major search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo, therefore increasing a website’s online presence. So, when businesses and brands want to be found online, doing SEO is by far the most valuable and critical component for a website.


SEM stands for Search Engine Marketing. While it sounds similar to SEO, it’s definitely different. SEO can be a part of SEM, but it doesn’t work the other way around. SEM is the idea of doing different kinds of digital marketing on search engines including SEO, PPC or paid ads, social media marketing, and other online marketing campaigns. All those online marketing campaigns combined is what’s known as search engine marketing.


PPC stands for pay-per-click. Ever see those sponsored ads at the top (sometimes at the bottom) of a Google search page? Those listings with a little “Ad” text box in green is a paid ad – but a business only pays for that ad when someone clicks on it. Hence, pay-per-click. PPC is a part of what’s called Advanced Paid Search, which includes PPC, Google Display Banner Advertising, and Google Retargeting.


SERP stands for Search Engine Results Page. When you Google a phrase, such as “SEO company Santa Rosa,” and land on a search page with all the results, that’s a SERP. Easy breezy.


CPC stands for cost-per-click. This is related to PPC and paying-per-click. CPC is calculated by Total Ad Spend divided by Total Clicks. The dollar amount a business pays per click, is called the cost-per-click. Since PPC is a bidding auction on Google, you can set a maximum ad budget per day on what you want to spend and on what the max is you’d like to spend on a click.


CTR stands for click-through-rate. This percentage is related to PPC and paid search. When someone sees your paid ad, that’s called an impression. The CTR is calculated by the number of clicks (when someone actually clicked an ad) divided by impressions. And that’s your click-through-rate. There are different industry averages but overall, an average CTR of 0.8% is considered good.

WSI Smart Marketing is a Full Digital Marketing Agency

Our local executive team in Santa Rosa, California consists of 6 staff members, and we work with several others throughout the world including Scotland, South Africa, Canada, India, and more. If you’re interested in finding out more about digital marketing and what we can do to help your business’s bottom line, give us a call. We offer a complimentary 30-minute marketing consultation to see if what we offer can truly help your business grow. Give us a call at 707-843-3714 or fill out our form.


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