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A simple guide to online marketing terms

Have you ever found yourself at a meeting in the company of tech savvy colleagues who are speaking a language you do not understand? Every industry has its jargon but perhaps you felt you would appear foolish if you asked what the terms that were bandied about meant.

In their book The Nonprofit Marketing Guide: High-Impact, Low-Cost Ways to Build Support for Your Good Cause, authors, Miller and Andresen provide a helpful glossary of common marketing terms, explained in simple plain language.

And here are some of those terms explained in plain English – so no more wondering what is being talked about anymore.

Your simple guide to online marketing terms

Analytics. Statistics generated about visitors to a website or readers of an email. Analytics can help track what pages visitors look at, what links they click on, and how they found the site.

Anchor Text. Also called link text. The text on a website or in an email that when clicked on, takes you to another place on that page or on the Internet. Anchor text is usually underlined.

Domain Registrar. A company that manages the registration of Internet domain names. Your domain registrar and web host may or may not be the same company.

HTML. Stands for Hyper Text Markup Language. It is made up of various codes that are surrounded by angle brackets < >.Web browsers (like Internet Explorer or Firefox) read HTML and then display it as web pages. The same code is used to create HTML emails (emails with colors, fonts, images, etc.).

Keywords. The specific terms (single words and phrases) used by someone searching for something on the Internet. By knowing the keywords that best describe your organization and its work, you can track mentions of those words on the Internet. You can also use those words on your own website, so that search engines will associate your website with those topics.

Long-tail, Long-tail keywords. Typically phrases with three or more words that are much more specific versions of your keywords. For example, if one of your keywords is “homeless shelter” then “homeless shelter for families” and “homeless shelter New York City” would be examples of long-tail keywords.

Microsites. Mini-websites, with their own domain names, that are often created for specific campaigns. They can be independent websites or part of a larger site.

Permalinks. A direct link to a specific blog post or forum entry.

Redirect. When someone types in one website address and is automatically taken to another website address. For example, you can redirect someone who types “” to “” if you own both domain names and your main site is the .org.

Retweet. Forwarding someone else’s tweet (an update on Twitter) to your own Twitter followers.

RSS. “Real Simple Syndication” is a way for websites that are updated frequently such as blogs or news sites to send new content automatically to subscribers. Readers of these types of sites subscribe and then receive updates to their RSS reader or email box, instead of having to check all the different sites all the time.

Search Engine Optimization. Improving the quality of your website so that search engines rank it highly on their search engine results pages when people search on your keywords.

Search Engine Rankings. How results of a web search are ordered. The most relevant websites should appear toward the top of the list. Sites are ranked according to a complex formula that includes how keywords are used on the site and how many other related websites link to the site.

Tags. Descriptive keywords used to categorize an article, such as a blog entry. Tagging can help the entry be found more easily by both people and search engines.

URL. A web page’s address. Stands for Uniform Resource Locator. is a URL.

Web 2.0. The second generation of the World Wide Web, which includes many more tools for online conversation and collaboration (social media).

Web Hosting. The storing of the pages of your website on a computer server owned by the hosting company. The web host then makes the pages available to Internet users. Your web host and your domain registrar may or may not be the same company.

I hope you find this list helpful and please do let me know in the comments if you would like any of these terms or other online terms explained in more depth in future posts.