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Online marketing term definitions: cutting through the digital jargon

Digital Marketing + SEO + SEM + Social Media + Content and copywriting
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Here are the most common online marketing terms you’re likely to come across, and exactly what they mean.

When meeting with new clients we sometimes have to catch ourselves in how we’re explaining the myriad benefits of online marketing. There are terms, often acronyms, that we regularly use to describe our digital services. However, we (along with our industry) use them as a means to simplify our subject. Being deeply embedded in the practice of digital marketing, this works. However, coming into online marketing fresh, or exploring the service more while you work on your own business in its respective industry, it’s easy and common to get a little lost in the terminology used. So, for this, we’ve created a quick glossary of terms to help you not only gain easy access to them when needed (bookmark or screen grab!), but to also clarify what they are and how they’re different from each other.

Online marketing terms you’re likely to come across, and exactly what they mean.

SEM (Search Engine Marketing)/ PPC (Pay-per-click)

Search Engine Marketing (or pay-per-click) are online marketing strategies that use Google ads, search and social media advertising to display on the search results page of users who have searched a term related to your business. This ad generally appears as the first set of results, above or beside organic results, for the purposes of being top of mind when users start to click on applicable websites. To have your ad included, you need to bid against your competitors for you respective search term/s in a very strategic way. Just going all in with a big bid to ensure a win is not going to be good business if you haven’t considered your return on investment (ROI; your investment should be lower than your return over time). Your winning bid will be the amount you pay Google for each click to website via the paid ad link. SEM or PPC is a highly effective way of getting the right users to your website via paid means, if you’re bidding on the right search terms.

SMM (Social Media Marketing)

Social media marketing reaches your intended audience via paid means on the platforms they’re on most: social media. Social media marketing can be paid or organic. You can grow a social media following via organic means (and this is strongly encouraged to ensure a complete online marketing effort). Or, you can utilise the paid options available on each of the social media platforms is a great way to specifically target the demographic you want to reach, even if they are not following you. Thanks to social media’s own curation of user information, you are able to reach people who are interested in your service or product, or fall within the demographic likely to be interested in your service or product. Social media marketing makes up 97% of the advertising budget with marketers, brands and businesses.

SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)

Search engine optimisation, or SEO, is the process in digital marketing that, as the name suggests, optimises your website to better align with search engine requirements (predominantly Google’s requirements). This process helps ensure your website organically appears as high up in the search results page as possible. To achieve this, successful SEO requires a holistic approach that involves changing or tweaking the content on your website and your website design and development to improve the user experience. Search engines want to deliver the best experience to their users by way of great websites that answer questions and fulfil needs. Google has a sophisticated ‘crawl’ mechanism that uses an intelligent algorithm to ‘read’ your website and make decisions, rewarding good websites and dismissing poor quality websites.

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