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Search Engine Advertising Vocabulary List

posted 18 Oct 2010, 06:30 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 18 Oct 2010, 06:32 ]

As with any branch of search engine marketing, Pay-Per-Click
(PPC) advertising comes with its own set of jargon. To us
industry folk, such terminology is standard, but it can
sound like gibberish when spoken to the unenlightened. Let's
take a look at some popular search engine advertising

The Big Picture

When learning about search engine advertising, there are a
couple of terms you absolutely have to know:

Pay-Per-Click (PPC): Pay-Per-Click is a model of search
engine advertising that chargers advertisers by clicks, not
impressions (the number of times an ad is displayed). PPC
ads are displayed on search engine result pages, affiliate
services, and external sites.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM): Search Engine Marketing
describes any promotional technique related to search
engines, with two main branches: Search Engine Optimization
(SEO) and Pay-Per-Click (PPC). SEO affects organic search
results, while PPC targets sponsored ad listings.

Other Terms

A/B Testing: A method of testing that compares two variables
to see which is more effective. For example, you could devote
half of your day's budget to PPC ads promoting "Free Shipping
on Canon Cameras!" and half on "Canon Cameras with Free
Shipping!" A/B testing can be used on both ads and landing
pages, and concerns not just wording but also
capitalization, alignment, and design, among other

Call to Action: When it comes to PPC management, bossy is
good. A call to action is a statement imploring visitors to
stop reading and start doing. This could include a variety
of activities, including buying a product, submitting a
quote request, or joining an email list.

Conversion Rate: The portion of PPC visitors who execute a
certain action, such as completing a sale or requesting a
quote. If your clicks aren't leading to conversions, there
could be a disconnect between your ad text and the landing
page or website that users are visiting.

CPC (Cost Per Click): The agreed upon amount that
advertisers pay PPC engines for every click their ads
receive. Different keywords and keyphrases have different
CPCs, as determined by industry competition and the Quality
Score of each (see below).

CTR (Click Through Rate): The amount of clicks a PPC ad
receives, divided by its total impressions.

Multivariate Testing: Also known as multi-variable testing,
this method of ad comparison takes A/B testing to a whole
new level, with the ability to examine multiple variables at
a time to create the perfect combination of factors.

Quality Score: Google AdWords uses its Quality Score feature
to make sure that sponsored advertisements remain relevant to
user search results. A higher Quality Score can actually
decrease your CPC and increase your ad's ranking and

ROI (Return on Investment): This statistic calculates the
cost-effectiveness of your PPC campaign by dividing the
money gained (or lost) by the cost of advertising.

About the Author: is your source for professional and
effective PPC management. We offer skilled search engine
marketing for a variety of services, including Google
AdWords management and Microsoft adCenter. Check out our
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