Get to Know the Lingo: SEO, SEM, PPC…. WTF?

If you know a little bit about digital marketing, it’s likely that you’re familiar with the acronyms digital marketers use. However, just knowing the acronyms and the terms doesn’t mean that you fully understand what the lingo of the digital marketing world is.

But: Fear not! You don’t have to feel intimidated by this lingo.

Our team at Horde Marketing understands that there’s a lot (and we mean A LOT) that goes into a digital marketing campaign, whether we’re starting with a new website, content marketing or we’re looking at a paid advertising campaign (yes, these are a few of the buzzwords in our industry – don’t worry, we’ll explain these). Because we work with complete transparency, we take a lot of time with our clients to make sure they understand what these terms mean and what they mean for their business.

Curious how these terms relate to your online presence? Read on…

Don’t Let the Digital Marketing Lingo Intimidate You

The first step when engaging a new digital marketing client is to determine what the client needs. Does the client need a modern website? Do they need new, SEO-friendly content? What’s their online reputation? Do they utilize social media? Have they tried paid advertising?

Once we’ve determined what the client needs, we write up a proposal and walk through the information contained therein to the client, explaining how these services work to increase their business.

Let’s jump into the key terms in digital marketing and how they relate to your business and online campaigns:


Your website is the face of your company on the Internet. A website is an invaluable part of your digital marketing campaign (Meet George). Key terms that we use when discussing a website are

  • Competitive Research: What are the client’s competitors doing? What’s working for them to drive their visibility? This is the first step in the process, and helps us to understand what needs to change, what needs to be updated and what is driving traffic in the target markets.
  • Sitemap: The sitemap provides a high level overview of the website flow that determines what items (images, content, videos, etc.) can be used from the existing website and what items we’ll need to create.
  • Content Analysis: This allows us to see which pages are currently driving traffic (to maintain those in the new design), and whether we need to write or rewrite any pages integrating SEO best practices to encourage more visibility in the search engines. Often, we’ll need to write at least 10-15 new content pages.
  • Wireframe: The wireframe is a blueprint of the website development using boxes that tell the client where we recommend items to be placed on the screen. Each box is labeled so that it’s easily digestible. We typically produce a wireframe of the home page and an internal page of the website to show the client what we have in mind for their design.
  • Design Comp: The design comp is an illustration of what the website will look like once it’s built. Providing this document to our clients allows us to fine tune our design and branding aspects of the site before any coding is started. This is the stage where we make any changes to the look and feel of the website. We begin the build-out process once final approval is received from the client.
  • Test Link: The test link is where the new website build-out lives before it’s made “live” on your existing URL. This allows our team to work on the website and make any edits while not compromising your current website. We place the test link on our servers throughout the build-out stage, and provide the test link to the client once we have everything in place following our development. Once approved by the client, our team moves all of the content found on the test link to the client’s existing URL, updates this information in Google Analytics (and adds a tracking code to monitor the traffic to the new website) and Search Console, and sets up any redirects that need to be adjusted.


Your content is what drives visibility in the search engines and engages visitors to your website. Here’s a few key terms to know when discussing content:

  • Keywords: During the Content Analysis, our team looks for keywords that are directly related to your business. Because we create completely unique content for each client and each page, we use these keywords to ensure that your content is pulling people interested in your products or services. For our monthly clients, we follow the keywords that are driving traffic to your website, and use those when writing monthly content. Keyword spamming is a big no-no, and will get you straight to the top of the Google Blacklist, pushing your site down in SERPs rather than at the top. We avoid keyword spamming in all of our content, but if you want to learn more about how to spot our keywords, send us a message! We’d love to chat to explain how we do what we do.
  • Tags: This is a term you’ll likely hear very often when talking to a digital marketing content writer. Your tags carry more weight than the content on the page (though the content is just as important) because of their location. There are several types of tags that you’ll find within your content, and some that are only utilized on the backend of the site and/or page. The type of tags you’ll hear us discuss include: Title, Meta Description, Header, and Alt. The title and meta description tags are only utilized on the back end by the search engine crawlers; Header tags are present on the front-end of your website, and serve as breakups for the content, and many content writers use these as organizational structure. Alt tags are used for any media present on the site, and can be seen from both the front-end and the back end.
  • User-relevance: While understanding the keywords and industry specifics of our clients, what really drives the content creation is the development of content that is user-relevant. Google weighs relevant content highly, along with content that has all necessary tags and keywords to tell the crawlers what is on the page to grant rankings in order to bring more people to the website. If the content isn’t relevant to users, it’s unlikely that you’re going to interest people enough to invest in your products or services.


Digital marketing encompasses everything you do with your online presence to increase your revenue. While your content works on your website, it also works in your marketing channels to share your message, promote your brand and drive your business. Marketing terms we use at Horde Marketing include:

  • SEO: Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is a long-term solution to driving traffic to your website. SEO utilizes your keywords, tags and user-relevant content to deliver higher rankings in the SERPs, thus increasing the online visibility and encouraging more clicks. More clicks on your website pages means more people looking at your services and products, increasing the likelihood that the user will purchase from you.
  • SEM: Search Engine Marketing, or SEM, is the process of creating pay-per-clicks ads in a variety of platforms. This type of digital marketing often produces faster results than an SEO campaign, but the results are often quickly replaced by others who may be attempting to rank for the same keywords. SEM campaigns need to be closely monitored to ensure that the keywords that trigger your ads are appropriate for your business, so our team at Horde Marketing regularly monitors each SEM campaign we launch.
    PPC: See above for SEM.
  • Blog: Your company’s blog is part of your website, and is a place to provide updates about your company, new products or your industry. Blogs are a great addition to any website because web crawlers pay more attention to websites with regularly-updated content than those sites that remain static. Updating your blog at least twice a month is the standard, though updating more often increases the SEO value of your website, increasing the rankings and amount of traffic being driven to your site.
  • Social (SM): Social media – what we call SM in-house – is the face you show to your local B2C and B2B customers. Your social media presence is where you connect with your clientele, share your business stories, share funny videos and show your prospective and existing clients/customers who you truly are as a business. At Horde Marketing, we utilize a variety of social media platforms, including: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, and Pinterest. We integrate these into not only our own digital marketing campaigns, but those of our clients. We allow our clients to choose the social media platforms that are best-suited for their business, and create targeted content for each one (depending on the selected service tier), send to our clients for approval, and schedule for distribution.
  • Newsletters: Newsletters, as related to digital marketing, specifically denotes email newsletters. These email blasts are a great way to share specials, announce upcoming workshops/events, or drive your services to prospective and existing customers/clients. Email newsletters are set up in a specific service that allows you to easily create your campaign, develop your content, lay it all out in a simple, easy-to-consume format, and send to all of the email addresses you’ve collected.
  • Campaigns: A campaign is almost, literally, anything we do in digital marketing. Campaigns are often ongoing digital marketing strategies that are used to promote a business. When we’re discussing our services with clients, we often refer to each strategy as a campaign: SEO Campaign, SEM Campaign, Email Campaign, Social Media Campaign. Know that when we use this word in conjunction with your selected digital marketing strategy(ies), we’re referring to the overarching strategy as it relates to your business.

We Can Guide Your Digital Marketing Journey

Digital marketing is a broad term that describes a variety of activities designed to increase the online visibility of your business. Our team at Horde Marketing is well-versed in a variety of digital marketing strategies, and we employ these strategies to assist our clients. Depending on the goals of our clients, we make recommendations as to which strategies will provide the best results, with many clients choosing an ongoing monthly plan to increase their online visibility.

Are you ready to take the journey toward more business? Contact our team at Horde Marketing to learn how we can help. We work closely with each client to ensure the best ROI from the selected strategies.