Content Marketing Glossary

Content Marketing Glossary

A / B testing

Also referred to as “split testing” or “multivariate testing”, A/B testing uses a variable, such as landing page design, the colour of a call-to-action or the wording of an offer, to improve the performance of a particular campaign. For example, you might send different email templates to two segments of your marketing database to see which one performs best.

Above the fold

A term borrowed from the newspaper industry to describe the area of a web page that a user can see without scrolling down. Around 80 per cent of eyeball time is above the fold.


Google’s search engine advertising platform. Google Ads allows advertisers to bid to have their links appear in the “paid” or “sponsored” search results for relevant keywords. Read 25 tips for better Google Ads campaigns.

ALT tags

A meta tag used to describe an image. This tag is used by Google to rank and index pages containing images.

AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages)

AMP is a Google initiative designed to help website owners provide a quicker, smoother experience on mobile devices. After switching to AMP, pages load faster on mobiles and tablets and get a little badge in mobile search results. Read more about why Google’s AMP Project matters to content marketers.

Anchor text

A word or phrase that links to a particular web page. Google follows links to find and index new pages and it uses anchor text to help understand the content of those pages. Over-engineering anchor text on third party sites could lead to your site getting hit by Google’s Penguin update.

Article marketing

The practice of writing or commissioning articles and getting them published on third party sites for brand awareness, referral traffic or anchor text links. Also referred to as “Guest Blogging”, this practice is largely redundant as an SEO tactic (as declared by Google’s Matt Cutts in January 2014). Read more about guest blogging since Google’s Penguin and Panda updates.

Author rank

The value added to a piece of content by the reputation of its author. The impact of author rank is limited right now, but Google is expected to make greater use of it in the future. Read more about how Google judges quality content.

Bad neighbourhoods

Link farms, article directories, low quality blogs and other websites created solely to give out links are regarded as “bad neighbourhoods” by Google. Since the Penguin update, links from these domains will cause your website more harm than good.

Black hat SEO

Tactics that infringe Google’s webmaster guidelines. Black hat SEO is designed to trick Google into giving a web page a better ranking in search than it deserves. Google applies various penalties to sites when it identifies evidence of black hat tactics. Here are 4 old black hat tricks you should avoid.


Originally called “weblogs”, a blog allows almost anyone to create and publish online content. Blogs tend to feature editorial content, often supported by images, graphics, video and embedded posts from social media. Most companies use blogs to create and share content that will inform, engage and educate their target markets with ultimate goal of driving more awareness, leads and sales. Read our 75 tips for improving your company blog.

Brand guidelines

Also referred to as a “style guide” or “brand identity”, brand guidelines are used to tell the story behind a company’s brand, set out the assets it uses to represent that brand and establish some rules for elements such as colour palette, writing style, typeface and photography.

Buying cycle

Also referred to “purchase process” or “sales funnel”, the buying cycle identifies the different stages customers and prospects move through as they interact with your company. Content marketers need to understand buying cycles so they can provide different types of content for users at each stage.


A snapshot or copy of a web page. Google uses cached pages to speed up the process of searching the internet and navigating web pages.

Call-to-action (CTA)

A conversion opportunity or useful action website owners want users to take, such as completing a signup form, downloading a whitepaper or requesting a call back. CTAs should always be prominently displayed; have simple messaging; and use a consistent look-and-feel.

Case studies

Real-life stories that show your products and services in action. Case studies can appear on your blog, as standalone web pages or as downloads. The aim is to build trust with potential customers by providing examples of the results you’ve achieved in the past.

CMS (content management system)

A platform used to create and manage content published on a website, often referred to as the “backend”. If you’re thinking about changing your CMS or redesigning your website, read 50 tips for better website rebuilds.

Competitor analysis

Looking at what your competition is doing is a key part of building an effective content marketing strategy. From new landing pages and blog topics to social media and AdWords strategy, a competitor analysis allows you to benefit from the research, experience and successes of your rivals.

Content audit

A review of your website, social media, email and offline content. Content audits identify opportunities to edit, update or re-purpose content. They also help set priorities for creating new content. Read more about how to do a content audit.

Content calendar

A collaborative document that allows you to keep tight control over your content marketing strategy without having to do all the work yourself. For some ideas about how to populate your calendar with ideas, read our 10 steps to content marketing awesomeness.

Content mapping

A creative process designed to ensure blog and landing page content can achieve cut through in search, social media and email campaigns. Read more about how content mapping works.

Content marketer

A creative and talented individual who spends his or her time creating, planning, editing, optimising and strategising in this exciting, expanding industry. Meet some of our content marketers.

Content marketing

The strategising, creation and amplification of different types of content to support digital marketing campaigns. Read more about how content marketing works.

Content plan

A document setting out your content marketing strategy for a particular campaign or period of time. Content plans are an essential step in properly documenting your content marketing strategy. Read more about creating a content marketing strategy.

Content promotion

The part of your content marketing strategy that focuses on getting your content in front of the right audience. Content promotion is also referred to as “content amplification” and usually involves a mix of SEO, sponsored social media posts, Google AdWords and email. Read more about content promotion.

Conversion goal

A tangible outcome you want to achieve on your website. Usually this will involve a website visitor taking a useful action, such as making a purchase, requesting a demo, downloading a product spec, completing a contact form or subscribing to an email newsletter. Read more about setting measurable goals for your content marketing strategy.

Copyright infringement

Misuse of copyrighted material. This can be expensive and damaging, so something content marketers – especially writers and editors – need to have a tight handle on.

CRO (conversion rate optimisation)

Tactics and strategies used to increase the conversion rate on a website or a particular web page. The conversion rate refers to the percentage of visitors who complete a desired action (sign-up, download, call etc). Read more about conversion in our 60 tips for better website user experience.

CTR (click through rate)

The percentage of users who click on a particular link or advert. Click through rate is usually calculated by taking the number of times the link has been clicked and dividing that figure by the total number of unique views it received.

Deep link

Usually an internal link directing users to a page further down your website’s hierarchy.


A false statement (or a statement you can’t prove is true) that has the potential to damage a person’s reputation. Defamation is a really important area of media law for content marketers to understand.

Disavow tool

As part of Google’s Penguin update, webmasters were given a new tool to disassociate themselves from links from weak domains or ‘bad neighbourhoods’. The idea was to help website owners that had been targeted by negative SEO and encourage anyone involved in black hat link building schemes to confess their sins before Penguin hit their rankings. Backlinks can be disavowed in Google’s Search Console.

Domain authority

Sites with stronger domain authority tend to perform better in search. There are a variety of tools to measure domain authority and a number of contributory factors from the age and size of your site to its inbound links and social footprint.

Domain name keywords

Should you buy a domain name featuring keywords you want to target in search? This isn’t really content marketing but it is something we get asked about quite regularly. So we wrote this blog post: do domain name keywords help SEO?

Duplicate content

Text content that appears on more than one URL may be considered duplicate by Google. Since the Panda update, Google has been trying to purge its index of duplicate content in an effort to improve user experience. This makes unique editorial content, whether it’s in a news story, in a blog article or on a landing page, an essential part of building an engaging, search-friendly website.

eBook marketing

The creation and promotion of detailed, professionally-presented content, usually in PDF format, that drills into a particular topic. You can use eBooks to establish brand authority and capture leads for your sales team. Read our 40 tips for better downloadable content.

Editorial brief

Also referred to as a “creative brief” or “content brief”, this is a fluid document setting the rules and broad direction for your content marketing strategy. Read more about how to build a creative brief.

Engagement metrics

This refers to data points that show how users are interacting with your content. In Google Analytics, for example, you might look at indicators such as bounce rate (the percentage of users arriving on your site and then leaving without taking any further action), pages per session and average session duration. Read 20 tips for Google Analytics.

Email marketing

Producing relevant and useful content that can be delivered to interested parties via email as part of an integrated marketing campaign. Read 40 tips for better email marketing.

Evergreen content

A term that usually refers to editorial content that’s not tied to specific event or point in time. Evergreen content will have a longer shelf-life and can help you drill into your long-tail keywords.

Eye tracking

Eye tracking technology can show you where users are looking on a particular web page. Part of the user testing process, eye tracking can be useful to content marketers because it identifies the most valuable parts of a web page.

Facebook marketing

Strategies and tactics designed to promote a brand, product or service via the world’s largest social media site. This may include creating or enhancing a Facebook profile, the active sharing of appropriate content and leveraging Facebook’s ad products. Read 50 tips for better Facebook marketing.


A small icon, usually a version of your logo, that will appear on internet browser tabs and bookmarks. Favicons are a small but important UX factor, helping sites to appear authentic and more familiar to users. Read 60 tips for better website user experience.

Gated download

Also referred to as a “gated asset”, a gated download is a piece of content – typically a whitepaper or eBook – that sits behind a lead capture form. Users who want to access your gated downloads will need to submit their name, email and other useful lead information. Read our 40 tips for your downloadable content.


A format often used for brief animations running on a loop. We can’t agree on whether it’s a hard or soft “g”, but either way, gifs can be a great way to drive engagement on social media or draw attention to your CTAs.

Google Analytics

A free service provided by Google that allows owners of websites or mobile apps to track user activity. Google Analytics is an essential tool for tracking and improving your content marketing campaigns. Read more about content marketing and Google Analytics.

Google Analytics 360

A paid version of Google Analytics aimed at large enterprises that offers advanced features and support.

Google Hummingbird

The name given to the search algorithm Google set live in September 2013. Google Hummingbird attempted to drill into search queries to determine the meaning behind them, reducing its reliance on individual keywords and serving up more specific results. Read our tips on adjusting your content strategy for Google Hummingbird.

Google juice

The search value or PageRank passed between web pages by a “follow” link.

Google Panda update

A series of updates to Google’s search algorithm that targets low quality web pages containing thin or duplicate content. The first Panda update launched in March 2011 and attracted criticism from some website owners due to the dramatic impact it had on their traffic.

Google Penguin update

A series of updates to Google’s search algorithm first launched in May 2012. Penguin seeks to remove the credit websites previously received by “over-optimising”. Tactics targeted by Penguin include stuffing meta tags with keywords and acquiring high volumes of anchor text links from weak domains. Read more about Google’s Penguin update.

Google News

A separate search index limited to select domains that Google believes are bona fide news providers. Unlike the main index, your site won’t appear in Google News unless you have submitted a formal request for consideration. Getting into Google News used to be a useful SEO tactic as new content was picked up much quicker than in the main index, but the rules now exclude most company blogs or news sections.

Google search algorithm

The mathematical formula Google uses to determine where a web page should appear in its organic search results for a given keyword. Google’s search algorithm is updated regularly and uses more than 200 ranking signals. Moz provides a comprehensive rundown on updates to Google’s search algorithm.

Google Tag Manager

Google Tag Manager is a free tool designed to help website owners add multiple tags (snippets of code used to track user activity) to their pages using a single tool. Once the container tag has been installed, additional tags can be added without needing access to the site’s backend.


Also referred to as a Google’s “crawlers” or “spiders”, Googlebot is the tool Google uses to discover and index web pages.

H1 tag

An important HTML tag that allows website owners to mark up the most important text on the page. You should only use one H1 tag per page or you will dilute its impact. Usually your H1 will line up with your page title. H1 tags remain an important ranking signal, but like page titles and links they have been targeted by spammers.

H2 and H3 tags

If the H1 tag is the header, title or headline, think of H2 and H3 tags as sub-headings. Unlike H1 tags, H2 and H3 tags can be used more than once on the same page. Your H1, H2 and H3 tags should form a hierarchy, flagging important text for Google and other search engines.


Commonly used on social media, particularly Twitter and Instagram, to allow users to easily associate their posts with content on similar topics. Hashtags are always presented as a single word, like this #greatexample.

HTML (hyper text markup language)

The common language used to write web pages. HTML tags control how content appears to users and helps Google to crawl and index that content. The current and latest version of HTML is HTML 5.


A certificate that sits on a website’s server verifying its credentials to Google Chrome and other internet browsers. HTTPS is thought to be ranking signal in search and is becoming an increasingly important factor for building trust with users, especially on sites that handle personal information.

Inbound link

Also referred to as a “backlink”, an inbound link is a link that points from a third party site to your site. If this link is a “follow” link, Google will use it to rank your page in relevant search results. Inbound links from relevant, well-regarded sites can boost your SEO, but inbound links from “bad neighbourhoods” do more harm than good. You can disavow bad links using Google’s Search Console.

Inbound marketing

Content marketing is an inbound marketing tactic. Rather than pushing products and services to potential customers, inbound marketing attempts to create awareness and desire to draw in those potential customers. It is also referred to as a pull strategy rather than a push strategy.

Indexed pages

Pages that have made it into Google’s search results. It won’t matter how good your content is, if Google hasn’t indexed it, it won’t appear in Google’s search results.

Infographic marketing

The use of infographics as part of an integrated marketing campaign. Infographics can be used to attract inbound links, encourage social media engagement and drive on-site conversion. Read our 35 tips for better infographic marketing.

Internal link

A link from a web page that points to another page on the same website. Internal links are used to direct users and search engine crawlers around websites. Google will also use them as a ranking factor. It’s important to avoid over-engineering your internal links, as unnatural, spammy tactics will raise a red flag.

IP address

IP (internet protocol) address is a unique number that identifies computers and other devices connected to a network. IP addresses have a number of uses for content marketers. For example, you can create IP filters in Google Analytics to avoid employee activity skewing your data. IP addresses are also an essential element of how marketing automation works.

Empty section.


A word or phrase that a user enters into Google to find a particular site, get an answer to a question or discover some information. A short-tail keyword is a one or two-word query. Volume and competition tend to be higher for short-tail keywords. Long-tail keywords contain three or more words. Volume and competition decreases significantly as the number of words in a query increase.

Keyword research

The process of identifying appropriate keywords, most commonly for an organic search or Google AdWords campaign. Keyword research typically looks at factors such as search volume, competition and relevance.

Keyword stuffing

Over-use of search terms on a web page designed to fool Google into awarding a higher search ranking. There is no hard and fast rule for how often a keyword can be used on a page before it becomes “keyword stuffing” or “spammy”. But Google is getting much better at identifying unnatural language in website copy, so if the keywords are jarring when you read it back you’ve probably overdone it.

Landing page

A web page designed to receive visitors directly from organic search results, sponsored links, social media ads or other digital campaigns. A landing page will usually feature a specific call-to-action (CTA) or conversion opportunity. Read our 50 tips for improving your landing pages.

Link building

A broad term used to describe the various strategies and tactics used by website owners or marketers to acquire links from third party sites. These links will send direct traffic and (as long as they are “follow” links) can improve organic search performance. A lot of link building tactics have been destroyed by spammers (see article marketing / guest blogging), but links from relevant, authoritative domains still have search value.

Link profile

The various links pointing to and from a website form that website’s link profile. A website’s link profile will help to determine how its pages perform in search and how much value it passes when it links to third party sites. Over-engineering your link profile will lead to your site getting hit by Google’s Penguin updates. Read more about recovering from Google Penguin.

LinkedIn marketing

Strategies and tactics that use LinkedIn, the world’s largest social network for professionals, as part of a digital marketing campaign. This may include creating and optimising company pages; sharing relevant pieces of content; using individual profiles to promote a brand, product, service or topic; or leveraging LinkedIn’s Sponsored Content, Sponsored InMail and other ad products. Read our 50 tips for better LinkedIn marketing.

Marketing automation

Marketing automation refers to technology that allows marketers to identify and learn more about their users, with the aim of creating more timely, better-targeted and more efficient content for websites and email campaigns. As the word ‘automation’ suggests, part of that is automating regular marketing tasks and workflows, which allow a level of customisation that would be difficult to achieve manually.


The original concept of a meme was a viral idea or behaviour. In the world of content marketing a meme is usually an image (photo, vector, screen grab etc) overlaid with text (usually in Impact font). Memes, whether they’re original or curated, can be great for sharing on social media.

Meta description

A meta tag describing the content of a web page. It will not usually be visible to users, but Google will crawl this tag and use it to summarise the page when it is returned in search results. Meta descriptions won’t help your SEO, but well-written meta descriptions can improve click through to your pages.

Meta keywords

A meta tag listing target keywords for a web page. Google no longer uses this tag to index or rank pages, so it’s really just a good way to tell your competitors which keywords you’re targeting…

Meta tag

Descriptive information attached to a web page or page element (such as an image or a video) that will be visible to Google and used for crawling and indexing content.


Google has rolled out a series of algorithm updates designed to favour sites offering a smoother experience on mobile devices. It offers a free tool to check mobile compatibility. Website owners can also use Search Console to check for mobile-friendly issues. Read more about mobile friendly content marketing.

Negative SEO

Employing SEO tactics that breach Google’s rules with the specific aim of damaging a website’s search performance. This might include buying links from weak domains and having them point to a competitor’s landing pages. Webmasters can now clean up their link profile using Google’s Disavow Tool (available in Search Console).


Taking a story from the news and spinning it to make it relevant to your brand, your product or a topic your audience cares about. Newsjacking can be a really effective way to take advantage of a short-term spike in search and social media.

No follow link

Adding a “no follow” tag to a link indicates to Google that it should only use that link to discover and index content, and not to pass PageRank (or link juice). Sites can use “no follow” links to discourage spammers from targeting them in an effort to boost their SEO. Links on Twitter, for example, are “no follow”, meaning a link in a tweet has no direct search benefit.

On-page SEO

Strategies and tactics designed to make web pages easier for Google to crawl and index. On-page SEO refers to changes or improvements to the site and excludes off-page elements, such as link building.

401 Page

A 401 page is what users see when they try to navigate to a page that isn’t there either because it’s moved or doesn’t exist. You can customise your 401 page to control the user experience and help get users back to the right parts of your site.


Named after Google co-founder Larry Page, PageRank is the weighting or authority Google assigns to a particular web page. PageRank scores are available through various free online tools, although “Toolbar PageRank” lags the actual PageRank Google uses, often by some months. PageRank uses a logarithmic scale, so it is not a simple mark out of 10.

PageSpeed Insights

A free tool provided by Google to help website owners identify issues that are causing their pages to load slowly on mobile devices and desktops. Improving page speed can boost your SEO and improve your user experience. PageSpeed Insights is available here.

Page title

Also referred to as a “title tag” or an “HTML title”, this meta tag is crawled by Google and used as an important ranking factor. Check out our tips on fixing up your page titles.

PPC (pay-per-click)

A popular pricing model used by online advertisers, including Google and Facebook. Advertisers pay a fee each time their links are clicked.

Empty section.

301 redirect

A 301 redirect tells search engines that a page has permanently moved to a new URL. You can use 301 redirects to fix broken links on your site.

Ranking signal

There are 200 or so different ranking signals that Google uses to determine where a page should appear in its search results for a given keyword. Ranking signals include inbound links, keywords, domain authority, uniqueness, recency and page speed.


Also referred to as “retargeting”, this is a marketing tactic aimed at users who have already had some kind of interaction with your website or your company. For example, a Facebook pixel installed on one of your landing pages would allow you to show Facebook ads to users who had visited the page. Google offers a similar service through its display network.

Responsive web design

Creating websites that adjust to each user’s device. A responsive website would be an alternative to creating a mobile version of your site for smartphones and tablets. Read our 50 tips for your website rebuild.

ROI (return on investment)

A key measure of the success of a content marketing campaign. Positive ROI means you’ve generated more in sales than you spent on your marketing. Setting up Goals in Google Analytics and assigning them dollar values is a good way to help calculate ROI. Read more about how to measure content marketing ROI.

RSS (really simple syndication)

Once a popular method for sharing content online. Users would subscribe to RSS feeds using an RSS reader, such as the now retired Google Reader. RSS is still used by Google to crawl and index recently-published pages, such as blog posts or news stories..

SEM (search engine marketing)

A broad term used to describe the various strategies and tactics designed to promote a website or individual web pages in Google’s search results. SEM includes both organic and paid search.

SEO (search engine optimisation)

A broad term covering strategies and tactics designed to make website pages easier for search engines to crawl and index, the aim being to improve where those pages rank in organic search results.

SERP (search engine results page)

The common acronym used to describe the page of results when a user runs a Google search.


A sitemap provides a list of pages on your site organised into a hierarchy. Sitemaps make your content easier for Google to crawl and index. They are also an essential tool in any big landing page or website redesign project. Read our 50 tips for your website rebuild.

SMO (social media optimisation)

A term used to describe a range of tactics aimed at making a piece of content more appealing to popular social media platforms – such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, SnapChat, and LinkedIn – and their respective communities.

Social signals

Google uses some signals from social media to index and rank pages. With Google+ there was a direct link with better search performance when the site first launched, but with other social platforms it’s much more subtle. Social shares often correlate with search rankings because they are influenced by the same factors (authority of publisher, content quality etc), but correlation doesn’t mean causation.


Unsolicited communications, traditionally emails and text messages, but now more commonly used to describe low quality web pages and tactics aimed at gaming search results. So-called “over-optimisation”, such as keyword stuffing, are often referred to spam or “spammy”.


A subdomain is a website or blog that sits under a larger domain. For example: or A subdomain can be a good way to add a blog to your site, but you should avoid moving content from your main site to a subdomain. Read our 75 tips for better blogging.


A subfolder is part of a website’s directory that houses pages on a particular topic or of a particular type. For example: or If you want to add a blog to your site, a subfolder is usually a better option than a subdomain. Read our 75 tips for better blogging.

Sweating your content assets

Finding opportunities to reuse content you’ve created on different platforms or using different content types to explore the same source information. Mining your existing content is a great way to make the most of the time and money you’ve invested in your content creation. Read more about sweating your content assets.


Feedback from customers who have used your products or services. Testimonials might be presented as articles describing the customer experience in some detail or they might just be direct quotes from happy customers. Testimonials are an important trust-building element.

Twitter marketing

Using the microblogging service, Twitter, to promote content as part of a marketing campaign. Tactics may include optimising profiles; actively growing followers; identifying appropriate content to tweet about; and leveraging Twitter’s various ad products. Read our 45 tips for better Twitter marketing.

URL (uniform resource locator)

The unique address assigned to pages on the internet. You should use a breadcrumb URL structure to make it easier for users to navigate your site and for search engines to crawl and index your content. A breadcrumb URL structure on a blog would look something like this:

User experience

User experience can apply to all the ways in which a user interacts with your brand. When we’re talking specifically about websites, it would include factors such as aesthetics, functionality and page speed. Taking steps to improve user experience will often help search performance and conversion. Read more about content marketing and user experience.

User journeys

A user journey sets out the steps required to complete a particular action. For content marketers, user journeys help identify opportunities to improve user experience. If you can make it quicker and easier for users to complete a contact form, download an eBook or take some other useful action you can boost your conversion rate.

User personas

Also referred to as “buyer personas”, a user persona is an avatar that represents a segment of your target audience. User personas are important tools for content marketers and can be especially useful in helping writers understand who they’re writing for.

User testing

An essential element of any website build, user testing can help you find opportunities to improve user experience and conversion. It usually involves taking a group of people and having them attempt to complete actions on your site to identify potential hurdles. Read our 50 tips for your website rebuild.

USPs (unique selling points)

What is it about your products or services that makes them rare, valuable or superior to the competition? These are your USPs. Content marketers need clear, concise and compelling USPs to help build more effective landing pages, blogging strategies and promotional campaigns.

Video marketing

Using video to promote a brand, product or service. Video marketing will involve the creation of original video content and the sharing of that video content through search and social media as part of an integrated marketing plan. Read our 50 tips for better video marketing.

White hat SEO

The opposite of black hat SEO, referring to strategies and tactics designed to improve how a web page ranks in Google’s results. Unlike black hat SEO, these strategies and tactics will not breach any of Google’s guidelines.

Whitepaper marketing

The creation and promotion of extended articles – usually in PDF format – providing in-depth information on a particular topic. You can use whitepapers to establish brand authority and capture leads for your sales team. Read our 40 tips for your downloadable content.

XML (extensible markup language)

A common markup language often used to deliver content to websites. Our content API uses XML to deliver content to blogs and websites.

Empty section.

Empty section.