Jargon Buster

A quick reference guide to the terms and opportunities used in online marketing.

What is Pay Per Click?

Pay Per Click (PPC) is an Internet marketing tool used on search engines, advertising networks and content websites. Advertisers only pay when a user clicks on their advertisement and therefore visits the advertisers website.

With search engines, advertisers typically bid on keyword phrases relevant to their target market. When a user types a keyword that matches a phrase within the advertiser's keyword list, or views a webpage with relevant content, the advert may be displayed. Such ads are called "sponsored links" or sponsored ads, and appear adjacent to or above the "natural" or organic results on search engine results pages.

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What is Search Engine Optimization?

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the volume and quality of traffic to a web site from search engines via "natural" ("organic" or "algorithmic") search results for targeted keywords. Usually, the earlier a site is presented in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPS) or the higher it "ranks", the more searchers will visit that site. SEO can also target different kinds of searches, including image search, local search, and industry-specific vertical search engines.

As a marketing strategy for increasing a site's relevance, SEO considers how search algorithms work and what people search for. SEO efforts may involve a site's coding, presentation, and structure, as well as fixing problems that could prevent search engine indexing programs from fully spidering a site.

Another class of techniques, known as black hat SEO or spamdexing, use methods such as link farms and keyword stuffing that tend to harm search engine user experience. Search engines look for sites that employ these techniques and may remove them from their indices.

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What Are Product Engines?

Product engines (a.k.a. product comparison engines or price comparison engines) are search engines for products. They let advertisers provide product "feeds", normally generated automatically form their ecommerce database.

When a user searches for a product, links to advertisers are displayed for that particular product. Rank priority is often given to those advertisers who pay more, however the user can typically sort by price.

Some product engines such as Shopping.com use a pay per click model and have a defined rate card. Other engines such as Google's Product Search, (part of Google Base previously known as Froogle) do not charge for the listing, but still require an active product feed to function.

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What Is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is an Internet-based marketing practice in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for their efforts to drive a desired result.

Affiliate marketing overlaps with other Internet marketing methods to some degree, because affiliates often use regular advertising methods. Those methods include organic search engine optimization (SEO), paid search engine marketing (PPC), e-mail marketing, and in some sense display advertising. On the other hand, affiliates sometimes use less orthodox techniques, such as publishing reviews of products or services offered by a partner.

Affiliates use their website to drive traffic to the advertiser (merchant) who then pays per conversion.

How This Works... When a visitor clicks on a link from an affiliates website they are taken to a page (pre-determined by the merchant) on the merchants website. This generates a cookie on the visitors computer. The cookie is alive for a number of days (normally 30 days). This means that the visitor can return to the store at a later date to purchase. If the visitor makes a purchase within the allotted time, the affiliate will be rewarded for the sale. This is called commission.

Commission levels are agreed between the Merchant and the Affiliate beforehand. Commission can be based on a fixed value or on a percentage level of the order, the latter being the most popular for retail.

Although Affiliate Marketing is a form of online marketing, it is frequently overlooked by advertisers. While SEO, PPC and e-mail marketing capture much of the attention of online retailers, affiliate marketing carries a much lower profile. Still, affiliates continue to play a significant role in e-retailers' marketing strategies.

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What is Email Marketing?

E-mail marketing is a form of direct marketing which uses electronic mail as a means of communicating commercial or fundraising messages to an audience. In its broadest sense, every e-mail sent to a potential or current customer could be considered e-mail marketing. However, the term is usually used to refer to:

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Published by Chris Wood - © Acticom Uk - Online Marketing and Web Design