SEO, Search Engine Marketing and Social Media Terms Explained:

Take 30 minutes to learn these terms and basic information and you’ll be equipped to talk to any internet marketing company with the basic knowledge to make an informed decision.

SES – Search Engine Strategy. This is a process of laying out a plan of what your search engine marketing campaign will be. Do you need PPC? Does viral marketing or social site advertising make sense in your case? A good strategy is key for strong long term success and not wasting money. Just throwing money at it, won’t get it done right. Ask your SEO company if they will or can develop a proven search strategy for you. If they can’t, run like the wind and call us at SEO PRO immediately.

SEM – Search Engine Marketing. A broad term used for any effort to market your website on search engines. We have your SES, now let’s implement it. SEM includes, but is not limited to paid-for banner ads, pay per click (PPC) ads, organic search engine optimization (SEO), Google, Yahoo and Bing Map listings and NOW includes social media marketing. Oh, and don’t forget the all-important mobile marketing.

SEO – Search Engine Optimization. Normally associated with organic search engine optimization (Aka- Search Engine Optimizing). This is a method of writing text content, web coding, linking and designing websites in a way that search engines favor and can read. If done right, search engine will give a website with strong SEO extra credit and rank higher than other websites. Organic search engine listings shown below in green. To learn more about SEO, visit our how SEO works page.

PPC – Pay Per Click. If you’re reading this, you’ve probably already been approached by a slick company telling you all kinds of great things about PPC. Here’s our take on PPC (below) and a little more information about it. PPC ad examples are shown in tan-yellow below.

Pros of PPC paid ads:

  • Quick results for brand new websites.
  • Only other option if unable to obtain organic listings.
  • Useful for larger-budget machine-gun-like marketing strategies.
  • Useful to achieve quick branding awareness.
  • Good way to get ads on other websites when marketing to the masses. For example, if you are marketing a great new video game, you could choose to have your ads displayed on other video game websites that show Google ads.

Cons of PPC paid ads:

  • Most people ignore these ads and scan and click on the organic listings first. If they can’t find what they want in the organic listings, they may click on the paid ads or re-search with another search term. This is not a theory, but rather a scientific fact proven by studies of retinal cams on web surfers visiting search engines.
  • Very high cost: $500 to $100,000 per month! We read that Adobe software was paying $400,000 per month for PPC a few years ago. Not sure if that was true, but we have seen huge budgets spent on PPC.
  • You’ll be charged for every click through, even from your competitors click-through and kids messing around, etc. It’s not uncommon for some search terms to cost $4.50 per click. Super bowl? $20+ per click!
  • Requires expert, qualified management to maximize results. The SEO PRO’s are an award-winning Google Ads agency superstar.


PPC Google ads example

Domain Names & SEO- How to pick a domain name. “Get at least two,” is what we tell most people. Get one domain name with your branded name ( and at least one for your key service or product name ( We recommend using the “key term” name as your “main domain” and the company name domain as an alias. Use the company name domain for all your print ads. Use the search-friendly search terms (in the domain) in any links to your website. Both domains go to the same website. This is not such a big thing for Google any longer, but it is for Bing and Yahoo.

Here’s more about domains here in this video- Driving-traffic-with-domain-names

Search Engine Rankings – Your websites’ ranking on search engine. I.e. Page one, number one is a high ranking. Your website on page 5 is useless.

Search Engine Algorithm – Big words with huge consequences. Complicated and means everything to a search engine company like us. We could write a book about this and many have. Unfortunately, those books are outdated by the time they go to print. In short (very short), an algorithm is a formula used by the search engine to determine what category to put your website in, with regards to search results; and to determine how important your site is for a visitor to see. A high ranking website (according to the algorithm) is very important for you to see, based on the search term you searched on. A low ranking website might have fantastic information, but the search engines don’t see it that way. Literally, they might not be able to read the website, they way it was designed. These algorithm formulas are very guarded secrets. Why? Because SEO companies like ours would exploit them immediately. We admit it, the stakes are huge!

Keyword – A single word that is targeted or in a targeted search term that you wish to rank high for on search engines.

Key Search Term – A combination of Key words put together. Web users quickly learn that searching on “Cars” is a bad method of searching on search engines. You will get over 469 million results. So, we’ve learned that we need to be a little more specific, like “Audi repair east bay.” Yes, that’s our client, and they are ranked in the top 3 ( Try it on Google now!

Ranking Report – Do you want to search your key search terms every month to see where you rank? You might do it for a few terms, but not three different search engines for 50 different terms. This would take you forever, so we provide a Ranking Report that shows you the progress.

Stats and Analytics – Where do your visitors come from? What search term did they use to find you? How long do they stay? What page did they leave your website from? There is a ton of useful information available regarding traffic to your website.

Hits – Did you know that if you had one web page with 4 photos and 3 graphics on it, that would equal 8 “hits?” One is for the page itself and the other 7 are for the images. Hits = files downloaded. Useless information today in 2013; enough said on that.

Visitors – Every person (set of eyeballs) who has visited your website in 30 days. If they came to your site twice, they would be counted twice.

Unique Visitors – A safe cookie is dropped into a visitors browser saying ,”I’ve been here.” So when they come back, they are not counted again in the stats. This is a way to count how many different people (sets of eyeballs) have been to your website. But, if they clean out their cookies and visit your website again, they will be counted again.

Page Views – How many pages people are looking at. A big number could mean your website is very interesting or that the viewer is getting lost and can’t find what they are looking for!

Bounce Rate – Some one who comes to your home page and leaves without digging into another sub-page is a “bounce.” Think of it as, “Oh, this isn’t what I was looking for.” The percentage of Bounces is your bounce rate. We think that a bounce rate under 70% is OK. What…that’s crazy! Well, remember that just because we are targeting and ranked you #1 for “Bay Area answering services,” doesn’t mean that you don’t come up #3 on other search terms. Also, some people are return visitors looking for just a phone number and your operation hours.

Time on Site – How long are people staying on your website and on web pages? Are they reading it or just clicking away? See comment above about “pageviews.”

Drilling down / Digging – A term used to measure how far a visitor will click on links to get what they want. This is actually a big topic that really gets into web design, so we won’t get into it here, but think of this: Do people like a lot of info, or a little? YOU like a lot, that’s why you’re reading this. Most people don’t. So you need to offer both options in a good web design.

Tunneling – A term to describe the bath in which a conversion was made. See “conversion” below. You want to know how people are finding what they want and if they are getting lost on the website.

Traffic Source – Where did your website visitors come from? Search engine, links from other websites or direct type in of your domain name?

Robots and Spiders – Little programs who come and see what’s on your website and read our SEO work. They take data and report back to the big algorithm program. The search engines then store this data, compare it with your site the last time they visited, and compare it to other sites. Then a decision is made to adjust your rankings (up or down).

Conversions – How many visitors actually did something? This is where you measure your return on investment (ROI). An SEO company can only get people to you. What you do with them is your and your webmasters problem. So a goal/agreement is set as to what a conversion is. This is simple if you have an ecommerce website where you sell things online. Pretty easy to measure that. “We sold X before and now sell Y.” But if you’re selling homes or services, it gets tough to measure. Most companies will gage a conversion by use of their contact forms and the use of a unique phone number that’s tracked. This is trackable and fairly accurate way to measure results. Again, what you do with that contact is your issue, unless the wrong people are contacting you. If they are, then you reexamine the search terms you’re going for.

ROI – Return On Investment- This is the bottom line for most companies. What are you doing for me? If you’re not just trying to get your name/brand established, this really does count. No sense in paying $20 to sell a $10 item. But it might be worth $10 to sell a $25 item if the profit margin is there. Or, maybe you just need one new client a year, because your clients spend millions per year. Only you can gage this.

Impressions – How many times your PPC or display ad was displayed.

Have a question? 510-276-9904

SEO for companies in San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, Livermore, Pleasanton, Dublin, San Ramon, Danville, Walnut Creek, Concord, Brentwood, Hayward, San Leandro, Castro Valley, San Ramon, Antioch and other great Bay Area cities. SEO – SES – SEM – Social Media Marketing – Viral Marketing