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Back links: A link from an independent site to your site. These are back links, or inbound links. The number and quality of back links is taken into account by the spiders when determining ranking. Having quality articles and other solid information on the site can be used to increase the number of back links.


Benchmarking: A particular analytical technique that compares, for example, the performance of your own site with the average performance of a defined grouping of sites, normally from a similar type of business; the benchmarks


Bounce rate: The percent of visitors who leave from the page that they entered the site. i.e the first page did not generate enough interest to tempt the visitor to explore the site further


Click throughs: The number of times that a searcher clicks on your advert.

It should be kept in mind that a business located in a single town, and perhaps only advertising in that area, will achieve fewer click-throughs than one selling nationally or internationally, as the market is much more limited.


Click through rate (CTR): The number of times that a searcher clicks on your paid advert, expressed as a percentage of the number of times that the advert appears. The industry average click-through rate has been reported at about 0.5% (AdKnowledge Online Advertising Report). It has also been reported (World of Googlecraft) that, on average, Adwords will have a CTR around 2%; further that e-commerce sites might have an average around 6%. CTRs tend to be kept confidential for competitive advantage!

For a small business without e-commerce a click-through-rate around 0.5 is not unusual, but beware; click-through-rate is only a step in the process of generating profit. Better a low CTR from high quality prospects who have a high conversion % to a profitable sale! There is a lot of discussion in the industry about the merits and demerits of CTR!


Landing page: The page that visitors land on, i.e. enter the site.


Meta Tags: There are several metatags but two important ones are Title and Description.  These are not visible to viewers on-page, but are visible to search engines. These two metatags should give a description of what is on that page, and, together, they are the words that display as the result of a Google search.  Although vital to the optimisation process, our experience is that these are rarely set correctly.


Metrics: Measurements of, for example, click-throughs, visitors, page views, profit etc. In the web context metrics normally refers to all the various quantitative data that is used to optimise a site to meet defined goals.


Page views: The total number of pages viewed by all visitors in a defined time period


Pages per visit: The average number of pages viewed by all visitors during a single visit


Pay-per-Click (PPC): The Adwords concept is that an advertiser only pays when a searcher actually clicks on that advert and therefore visits the advertised website, i.e. pays per click.


Profit: For optimisation purposes, e.g. for an advertising campaign, this as your Net Income, normally for a particular part of your business or a particular product. Net Income is Gross Income (sales revenue) less Costs but before Overheads or Tax. Costs will include product purchase or manufacturing costs, distribution costs, marketing costs, and similar.


Search rankings (or Position): The average position of the advert in relation to all adverts shown in response to a given search. It is unlikely that a small local business will be able to achieve the top ranking as it is competing with the big boys with large advertising budgets. The trick is to do well compared with the specific competition.


Spamdexing: A term combining 'spamming' and 'indexing'. Spamdexing covers a range of search engine optimisation techniques designed to artificially improve a sites ranking in search engine results. Most search engines have developed ways of detecting spamdexing and will not show suspect sites in their ranked replies to searchers.


Spiders: Pieces of software that search engines use to evaluate (crawl over!) a site and then decide whether or not to show it, and if so at what ranking. The evaluation is highly sophisticated, and secret, but among the important factors are: quality of relevant content on site, keywords relevant to the search enquiry, how often the site is refreshed/updated, the number and quality of inbound and outbound link, and many others.


Time on site: The average time spent on the site by all visitors


URL: Uniform Resource Locator. The web address of a site; for example the ITinsite URL is


Visitors, new and returning: New visitors, and visitors who have been to the site before. These statistics have a degree of uncertainty due to technical reasons so are indicative.  They do, however, give valuable information about trends.



Glossary of technical terms used in search engine optimisation

and online advertising (SEO)

A short glossary of commonly used 'jargon' terms

Double click to insert body text here ...

The web inevitably involves much jargon and many technical terms.  We hope that this small glossary will be helpful to those who need a quick place to look for plain-english explanations.


There are many, many, more terms in use! We highly recommend Wikipedia for any queries as their explanations are written in plain english.


Adwords: Paid advertising available from the major search engines. The best-ranked ads appear on the right hand side of the search results page. The size and format of the ads is strictly controlled.


Analytics: The analysis techniques used to track the effectiveness of a site and to optimise it. See also benchmarking, metrics and profit.



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