In general any external 3rd party with whom an organisation has a mutually beneficial sales or marketing relationship, e.g. a contract sales person or other business partner. On the Internet, an e-commerce affiliate is typically a third party e-commerce site accessible by a link from the main website such as When a visitor clicks on an affiliate link, they are connected to this third party site. If a purchase is made the 2 websites will share a small payment (usually a percentage of the money the customer spends).

Affiliate marketing

A system of advertising on the web in which site A agrees to feature links from site B. Site A gets a commission on any traffic, leads or sales generated for site B as a result. These links may be reciprocal. There are many ‘link brokers’ - companies that act as intermediaries, arranging these link exchanges and taking a commission.


A web banner or 'banner ad' is a form of advertising on the web which entails embedding an advertisement into a web page. It is intended to attract a web surfer to the web site of the advertiser. When the web surfer clicks on the banner, the viewer is directed to the website advertised in the banner. This is known as a 'click through'. Banners may be ‘fixed price’ or charged according to the ‘click through rate’ achieved.


Pay per click search offers are designed around a very simple concept - the more you are willing to pay for key words that users may search on, the higher up the search engine results your site will appear.

It works on a real-time auction system between competitors for the top few positions which receive the vast majority of the clicks on search results pages.

For example; if company A is bidding £3.50 for the term ―marketing consultants" and is in the top spot, a bid of £3.51 will put company B into No. 1 and push company A down to No. 2.

Black Hat

Black Hat is the term used to describe techniques used by some search marketers to promote websites. These techniques are those that go against guidelines published by search engines, and in many cases their use can result in a site being penalised or removed from search engine listings. Black Hat is the opposite of White Hat. It is unethical and search engines are constantly improving their ability to track and ‘punish’ Black Hat activities.


In search marketing terms, 'bounce rate' is the percentage of web site visitors who arrive at a landing page, then leave without getting any deeper into the site.

This term is also frequently used to describe the return of a piece of e-mail due to an error in the addressing or distribution process.


Cloaking is a technique used to show content to a search engine and different content to a user. The content shown to the engine is usually designed to help a page rank very well for a certain phrase or word, and the content shown to the user usually designed to maximise the conversions from that page. Search engines forbid this technique and many sites are punished for using it by removal from search listings. It is a Black Hat technique and seen as unethical.

Cost per click

In a ‘Cost Per Click’ model payment is made each time the ad is clicked. An alternative is buying internet advertising on a ‘cost per impression’ model where payment is made when an ad is simply viewed.


A strategy in which two or more organisations join together in promotional activities to associate the two brands. Co-branding allows the partners to benefit from combining their complementary strengths. e.g. Dell PC’s with ‘Intel inside’. There are many examples.


A conversion is when a website user completes a specific marketing or sales goal. Examples include; downloading a coupon, making a sale, signing up for a newsletter or making an enquiry.


A cookie is a small text file stored on a website user's computer. It identifies a repeat visitor to a site, often with a unique code, allowing people to shop online and removing the need to log in to sites repeatedly. It can also be used to direct a returning user to a particular page within a site, based on their previous site usage or preferences.


CPM stands for ‘Cost-Per-Mille, and is a form of advertising system. An advertiser pays a specific amount for every thousand times his advert is seen on a site, regardless of how many of the users who see the advert actually click on it and visit the advertiser's site. It is seen as an effective advertising model to achieve brand awareness.


CTR stands for "Click-through Rate". It is an indicator of the percentage of people who see an advert who actually click on it. For example, if one out of every hundred people who view an advert click on it, the advert with have a CTR of 1%. It is seen as an effective model to achieve brand usage.


An electronic magazine: newsletter, or other electronic media communication that is distributed either over the web or via email.

e-catalogue (or e-brochure)

An electronic version of a paper or brochure in which the viewer can turn the pages online. There are many software packages that enable this some with advanced functions such as document search, active web links or embedded multimedia.

Guerrilla marketing

A term coined by Jay Conrad Levinson that refers to unconventional marketing strategies designed to get maximum results from minimal resources. These may include ‘high-jacking’ third party events and activities (e.g. standing behind a celebrity being interviewed on film with a product poster).


When searching the web, a hit can be a result found by a search engine that matches the search criteria. In analytics, a hit is when a file is requested by a server.

In the past some used hits as a measure of website traffic. However, hits to a server include images and repeat visitors, and are a poor indicator of traffic. One thousand hits very rarely equal one thousand visits.


A Keyword is a word or phrase - typically a phrase of two or three words - which has been identified as one which potential customers use when they are searching the internet.

Once identified these key words must be correctly included into the content and coding of those web pages which are relevant. This is part of Search Engine Optimisation of a site. It is a fine art to achieve this balance, which is very much more than packing a site with high visibility occurrences of key words.


A clickable place on a web page that results in the user being directed to another web page (URL) It is good practice to highlight links in some way so that they are obvious to the user and it is apparent what will happen if clicked.

Link building

The most important factor is gaining visibility in search engine results is the number of relevant, inbound links pointing at a web page or web site. Link Building is the technique used to increase this number. This can include submitting a website to directories, creating more relevant content for a website, link exchange, and many more techniques.

Long Tail

A marketing concept, first applied to Amazon in a Wired Magazine article, This shows it is possible to make a lot of sales revenue and profit in selling a small number each of a very long list of less popular items (e.g. from all the books listed), compared to high volume sales of a small list of items (e.g. the top 10 best sellers).


A group of people or organisations that share a need for a particular product or service and have the willingness or potential willingness and ability to use/pay for it.

Market segmentation

The process of dividing the market into smaller groups that have common wants and needs that may be satisfied by a particular Marketing Mix. It builds on the idea that not everyone is equally likely to buy everything. Segmentation bases may include lifestyle, age or income; but only to to the extent that these will differentiate users real wants and needs. There is no ‘right’ way to segment a given market.

Market share

The proportion of the total market that is using a particular organisation's products or services.

Marketing information system

A system for collecting and exploiting information on existing and potential customers, competitors as well as the resources and potential of the company itself.

Marketing mix

This usually refers to McCarthy's '4 P's': Promotion, Place, Price and Product. This is the tactical definition of what will satisfy the wants and needs of a specific Market Segment.

For service offerings 3 more P’s are added: People, Process and Physical evidence The P’s are those variables that marketers can adjust to enhance the competitive position and success of their company in a given product market.

Meta Data/Meta Tag

Meta Data is information held about a page or document. It is usually held invisibly within the page, and may include a description of the page, a list of relevant keywords, or the name of the author. Correct tagging is very important for Search Engine Optimisation.


The key goal(s) of an organisation, usually disseminated in a Mission Statement. It is usually a long term view of what the company is in business to do.


Newsfeeds are a means of providing users with frequently updated, often real-time content from one website to another. It is often used to provide news or market information on a given site or Blog, without the need to keep visiting the originating site.

They have two benefits – they create regular, fresh, search engine friendly content on a site, as well as allowing users to subscribe and receive the news directly to their inboxes or blogs. See too RSS.

Page title

As the name suggests it is the name for a given web page. It is usually visible in the title bar of the browser while you are viewing a page. Good practice in page titling is an extremely important aspect of website development and can have a large impact on Search Engine Optimisation.

PPC or pay per click

A model where the advertiser is charged every time someone clicks on their Internet ad or link. Pay per click ads can appear in many places – they can be seen at the top or on the right hand side of the results pages in search engines. Often they are identified with the words 'sponsored link'.

Commercial sites can build or host their own pay per click ads, or they can buy them in bulk and display them on their site, from Google (Google ad words) and other companies, who will pay a commission when these ads are clicked on.

Permission marketing

Permission marketing or 'opt-in marketing' is a form of relationship building based upon obtaining customer permission to receive information from a company. Under current EU law the consumer has to give positive consent for this to happen.


The channel or location where a product or service is brought to the market. Examples include a website, a call centre, a retail outlet or a salesperson.


Deciding where a product fits in, and how it should be placed and perceived, in relation to its competitors. Positioning maps are models where a number of variables can be used to compare one company’s product to its competitors e.g. High Cost – Low Cost vs. High Quality - Low Quality


In marketing services the way in which the service is delivered, consistently, to a given standard that will satisfy the customer.


The totality of the ‘thing’ that the customer buys. This is not just be the physical object but all the associated service, experience, emotion, satisfaction, realised benefits and interaction that the consumer gets from the company and its brand.

Product differentiation

Ideally makes a product different and better from the competition is ways that are of value to the customer.


A gateway to a site or sites on a single topic (deep) or area (broad).


"Really Simple Syndication" is a family of web feed formats used to publish and distribute frequently updated works—such as blog entries, news headlines, audio, and video—in a standardized format.


ROI stands for ‘return on investment’ and is one possible measure of the success of marketing activity. e.g. a marketing campaign that cost £10,000 but made £3,000 would obviously have a low ROI. A marketing campaign that cost £10,000 but made £100,000 would have a high ROI.


‘Search Engine Marketing’ Is the umbrella term for marketing on the Internet. It includes Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) as well as other paid for and free online marketing, such as pay per click campaigns, banner advertising, viral marketing etc.


‘Search Engine Optimisation’, the science and art of ensuring that the contents of a website are as visible as possible to search engines. Doing SEO well means that when users key in search terms then the website is shown high up in the search results.

There are many myths about SEO. It is a highly skilled and technical process, the realm of specialists. It will take months to implement from a low starting point and it is a never ending, ongoing process.

Search engine

A search engine is a tool and a database of web pages that has been collated from continuous searching and indexing the content of the Internet. Once search terms are entered by a user, the search engine returns a list of pages that contain content relevant and matching the search criteria. Google is by far the largest and most popular search engine in use today.

Search results

The pages that are returned as a result of a query that has been entered into a search engine. The results displayed on the page are of two types. ‘Paid for’ ads are typically displayed on a coloured background at the top of the results page and also as clickable links down the right hand side of the page. Companies can bid to appear in either of these positions, usually based on an auction/bidding model for the search words they want to ‘buy’, the position they want to be in and how long they want to be there.

The rest of the results listed are ‘organic results and appear for free. The actual position of websites in the search results pages depends on what search words were actually typed in; and how well the websites where they appear are optimised, for the search engine to find, index and display them.

Search term

A single word - or group of words - used to query a search engine. This phrase can also refer to specific keywords which need to be optimised within the website for search engines to find and index.


Spam usually refers to unwanted ‘junk’ email, sent out indiscriminately by unethical companies to millions of people at once. There is often criminal intent with the distribution of viruses or the attempted acquisition of personal information, credit card details etc.


A spider (also called a "crawler") is a software programme created by a search engine to index pages on the web. It visits pages on the web, collects and indexes their content, and finds and follows links within the pages. Important sites can have their pages ‘crawled’ hundreds of time a day.

Splash page

A splash page is an introduction page to a website, often created using flash. While often colourful, they are no longer popular as they slow down entry to a website and usually provide no useful information to the user. In many cases they will irritate the users, who will quickly move on.


An analytical model that looks at the internal ‘Strengths and Weaknesses’ of an organisation, and the external ‘Opportunities and Threats’ in its markets. Plans can then be put in place to build on the strengths, address the weaknesses, realise the opportunities and protect against the threats. SWOT analysis should be an ongoing activity and not a once a year ritual to be completed and filed. In order to be meaningful a SWOT analysis should be done for each market segment rather than for the organisation as a whole. The latter approach results in bland generalised results.

Target market

A group of consumers on whom a company focuses its resources. They are usually chosen because they have unique wants and needs that can be satisfied by the Marketing Mix, they offer good profit and the company is well placed vs. its competition.

Viral Marketing

A ‘guerrilla marketing’ tactic, where topical, catchy and often irreverent marketing messages are communicated and spread without coordination, particularly on the Internet. Dispersal relies on word of mouth and being passed on from viewer to viewer, because the message is fun or relevant in some way, This compares to more traditional paid advertising where media consumption is pre-planned and budgeted. However, due to its success more and more established brands are paying for the creation of viral campaigns.

White Hat

White Hat is the term used to describe techniques used by ethical search marketers to perform Search Engine Optimisation to promote websites. These follow the accepted guidelines published by search engines. White Hat is the opposite of Black Hat.