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SEM Glossary

At French & Company, we believe strongly in sharing information with our Client’s, in a partnership that will help them develop their knowlege in of SEM, further contributing value to their organizations.  To that end, we maintain the following glossary of SEM terms to help facilitate communication around SEM concepts.


Terms & Definitions:

% New Visits  % of all visits that are visiting for the first time.

Avg. Duration on Site How long a visitor remained on site. Measured in hrs, min, sec.

Bounce Rate Bounce Rate is the percentage of single-page visits (i.e. visits in which the person left your site from the entrance page). Bounce Rate is a measure of visit quality and a high Bounce Rate generally indicates that site entrance (landing) pages aren’t relevant to your visitors. You can minimize Bounce Rates by tailoring landing pages to each keyword and ad that you run. Landing pages should provide the information and services that were promised in the ad copy.

Clicks A click occurs when a user sees your ad; leading them to your website.

ConRate Conversion Rate is the Ratio of Visitors who conduct a certain action (goal or conversion)

Content Site/Display Network (Placement Targeting) The Content Network is a large group of websites and other products, such as email programs and blogs, who have partnered with the Search Engine you are Advertising with. You can either do a Cost per Click (CPC) or a Cost per 1,000 Impression (CPM) model in the Content Network. Content Sites are also known as Placements.

Conversions/Goal When a user completes an action.

CPA Cost divided by conversion/goal.

CPC The cost-per-click (CPC) is the amount you pay each time a user clicks on your ad. This is not necessarily your max CPC bid.

CTR Click through rate (CTR) is the number of clicks your ad receives divided by the number of times your ad is shown (impressions).

Geo Targeting Targeting Geographical areas in PPC Campaigns.

Google Alerts Google Alerts are email updates of the latest relevant Google results (web, news , etc.) based on your choice of query or topic.

Impressions A single instance of an online advertisement being displayed – hence possibly seen.

Intrasite Linking Linking with in one’s site. For example linking to a glossary or a FAQ section.

Pages/Session  Average of pages one views during their visit.

Pageview Each time a user visits a Web Page, it is called a Pageview. The more Pageviews, the more traffic the site is receiving. However, since a Pageview is recorded each time a Web Page is loaded, a single user can rack up many Pageviews on one website.

PPC Pay Per Click – Paid search advertising is a form of paid marketing communication or promotion on search engines and optionally, on search and content networks of search engines.

SEM Search Engine Marketing – The umbrella term that covers PPC, SEO, and SMO. The process of marketing a web site on search engines, including search engine optimization, submitting your site to the search engines and directories for organic listings, pay per inclusion, pay per click, banner ads or any other marketing programs offered by search engines.

SEO Search Engine Optimization – Often referred to as “Organic” or “Natural” Search. 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. Usually, the earlier a site is presented in the search results, or the higher it “ranks”, the more searchers will visit that site. SEO can also target different kinds of search, including image search, local search, and industry-specific vertical search engines.

SMO Social Media Optimization – Turning passive users into active participants.


Quick Reference

  • CTR – Click Through Rate = Clicks/Impressions
  • CPC – Cost Per Click = Cost/Clicks
  • CPA – Cost Per Action (Actions can be sales, sign ups, etc.)
  • Conversion Rate – ConRate = Conversions/Clicks
  • Target CPC (without Conversions) = [Target CPA]*CTR
  • Target CPC (with Conversions) =  [Target CPA]*ConRate