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Search Engine Marketing Acronyms

There are more than enough acronyms in SEM to make a person’s head spin. The combination of working at Microsoft, which I swear has a language all of it’s own that is solely based on acronyms, plus working in search engine marketing has me living in acronyms day in and day out. Whenever I have a new individual reporting into me I have to tell them to stop me and ask for clarification when I start using acronyms that they don’t understand because they’ve become so much a part of my everyday vocabulary that I forget everyone else doesn’t speak acronym as well.  This article is devoted to my love of SEM acronyms!

  • API= Application Programming Interface; A program that advertiser create to interface with the various search engine marketing platforms, such as Google’s Adwords or Live Search’s adCenter, bypassing the user interface.
  • B2B= Business to Business; A business that markets its business to another business
  • B2C= Business to Consumer; A business that markets its business to a consumer
  • SEM= Search engine marketing; also refered to as Paid Search
  • SEA= Search engine acquisition; Search Engine Advertising
    • Search Engine Advertising= The act of advertising on a search engine
    • Search Engine Acquisition= Similar to CPA/CPL
  • SEO= Search engine optimization, also refered to as Organic Search
  • SERP=Search engine results page
  • SRP= Search results page
  • SSP= Yahoos! Search Submit Pro; Yahoo’s paid inclusion product that uses a data feed. Yahoo charges a CPC, which is based on category, each time an ad is clicked.
  • PPC= Pay per click; An online advertising model where users pay per click from an ad to a specified landing page on their website.
  • Mainline= Paid Search Results appearing on the top of the search results page. Depending on the queried term the mainline contains between 1- 3 paid search results.
  • Right Rail= Paid Search Results appearing on the right hand side of the search results page. Typically represents positions 3-10.
  • CTR= Click Through Rate; The fraction of users who click on an ad to those who viewed an ad. Expressed as a percentage.
  • CPC= Cost per click;  Expressed in dollars.
  • CPM= Cost per Thousand; Cost per thousand impressions. CPM is standard monetization model for display ad space and some contextual networks. Expressed in dollars.
  • KPI= Key performance indicator(s); Key performance indicators are metrics linked to the objectives that define and identify success for the business. Paid search engine marketing KPIs are quantitative and should be time sensitive.
    • Examples of KPIs traditionally used in search marketing (based solely on your business goals):
      • Revenue
      • Sales/Transactions
      • Items purchased per Transaction
      • Leads Generated
      • Transfer to Merchant Site (affiliate networking)
      • Page Views
      • Unique Users
  • UU= Unique User; Unique Identifier of computers that hit a website (computers not people.) UUs are usually counted off of either unique IP addresses or cookies that hit a site.
  • PI= Paid Inclusion; Paying a fee to a search engine to be included in the index. Paid Inclusion does not affect the rankings of a web page; it just indicates that a page will be included in the index.
  • Pay per Call; A model similar to PPC, except that user pay per incoming call from a search ad instead of click traffic.
  • CPA= Cost per acquisition/action, also listed as COA=Cost of Acquisition/Action; The total cost of ad spend divided by the total number of conversions. Expressed in dollars.
  • CPL= Cost per lead; The cost associated with leads generated. Expressed in dollars.
  • PVpC=Page Views per Clicks (also represented PV/C); The number of page views generated per click. Expressed in numbers.
  • CpPV= Cost per page view; The cost associated with the number of page views visited either in a session. Traditionally this metric is used for Media based websites like newspapers, search portals
    • Using CpPV to evaluate PPC buys for a media based website:
      • Example: 250,000 PVs generated from 50,000 clicks at the cost of $0.50 per click. You generated $10 CPM. What is would the CpPV need to be to generate positive revenue.PV= Page view; Request to load a page of a web site.
  • Conversion Rate, The fraction of users who convert to those who clicked an ad to get to your site. Expressed as a percentage
  • AOV= Average Order Value; Average value of an order, expressed in dollars.
  • ROR= Rate of Return, also known as return on capital;  Return generated from total investment.
  • ROI= Return on investment; Return generated from total investment. ROI is expressed in percentage and can be any value greater than or equal to -100%. Any positive value represents a yield of positive growth and any negative value represents a yield of loss.
  • ROAS= Return on Ad Spend; Profitably measure for Marketing campaigns measuring the return generated from marketing ad spend. Dollars earned per dollar spent. ROAS is expressed in numbers and can be any value greater than or equal to 0. A value less than 1 represents that less marketing revenue is generated than the cost to advertise.
  • URL= Uniform resource locator; The address that defines the route to a file on an Internet server
  • Long Tail= Low traffic keywords that are often less competitive than higher volume broad terms.
    • Example: 8GB Apple iPod Nano vs. iPod
  • KWD= Keyword(s); a word or phrase that is related to a subject or document.
  • MoM= Month over Month
  • WoW= Week over Week
  • YoY= Year over Year
  • QoQ= Quarter over Quater
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