Glossary of Digital Terms

Many of these terms are used in the automotive industry in reference to digital products.

Some terms that we come across have been created by automotive industry vendors. Let us know if you come across a term that should be added to the list.

301 Redirect

Search engine friendly way to redirect one website address to another. For more information, Google Webmaster Tools provides more detail:

Ad Extensions Paid search term. These are the extra extensions that appear with the ad. They can be website link extensions, call (phone number) extensions, address extensions, etc.
Ad Position Paid search term. The order in which your ad appears. An ad position of 1 means it's on top of the page. An ad position of 3.5 means it's number 3 or number 4 throughout the date range being reviewed.
Ad Rank Paid search term. Score based on your bid and quality score. Ad rank is recalculated each time your ad is eligible to appear.
Adaptive Technology Website technology that modifies website pages based on user device. An adaptive website utilizes the same urls (whether mobile or desktop, pad, etc). When a url is shared from any device (emailed or shared on social media, for example) it can then be opened on any device and rendered accordingly. Google has stated that they prefer a fully responsive technology.
Algorithm A set of 'rules'. For example, a search engine uses proprietary and constantly changing algorithms to determine the relevance of a webpage (and therefore ranking) in its organic search results.
Alt tag A description that provides functional information that a visual user would see on a website image.
Analytics Generates detailed statistics about a website's traffic, sources, visitors. Google Analytics is the most widely used and is estimated to be used on approximately 55% of the 10,000 most popular websites in the world, with over 10 million websites in total using GA. Some automotive website providers write APIs to show Google Analytics data in simple, visual displays. Also, available are custom dashboard reports which can be easily created to show metrics most important to individual dealers like most popular new or used cars, quality of lead sources, etc.
API Application Programming Interface. A library that can be interfaced by software components to communicate. For example, Homenet and other inventory providers have an API for web providers who write programming to them, like Motorwebs, to get inventory updates, pricing in real time.
Article Spinning A method of rewriting existing articles, or parts of articles, and replacing elements to provide slightly different wording on the topic. Many believe that article spinning helps avoid the feared penalties in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERP) for using duplicate content. A black hat method of article spinning for thousands of pages of website content, requires spintax software which substitutes synonyms to create variations of a base article. Spinning results in unidiomatic phrasing that no human writer would use . Advances in Google algorithms detect duplicate and near duplicate (spinning) content.
Astroturfing Newly coined word in reputation management for users who create false identities to create reviews on behalf of a client (negative reviews for competition or positive reviews for client).
Attribution The process of assigning a value to individual touch points along a prospect's journey to a conversion or sale. Typically attribution refers to digital (or trackable) marketing efforts.
Avatar A picture or cartoon used to represent an individual in chat forums, games or on a website as a help function. Most famous in automotive is probably the Black Book actress.
Back linking Incoming links to a website or page from another source. Quality sources and relevance are most important. Online directories and social media are quality backlinks.
Bandwidth The transmission rate of a communication line- usually measured in Kilobytes per second (Kbps). This relates to the amount of data that can be carried per second by your Internet connection.
Behavioral Targeting A form of online marketing that uses technology to target web users based on their previous online activity. Advertising content can be tailored to be of more relevance to a particular user by capturing their previous activity.
Beta First step beyond Alpha. An application (often a website) released into the public domain so it can find and fix as many bugs as possible, and can be user tested.
Blockchain A constantly updated and growing list of blocks of information (or records) which are secured and linked using cryptography. The digital currency Bitcoin uses blockchain technology.
Blog An online space regularly updated presenting content and opinions or activities of one or a group of individuals.
Bounce Rate Percentage of visitors who left website after viewing one page. Bounce rates are much higher on dealer group portal (splash) pages because they immediately go to a store. For example, visitor finds, and immediately goes to
Browsers Retrieves and presents information on the internet. The first (most popular) was Netscape which made the World Wide Web accessible and easier to navigate. In 2013 the most popular is Chrome (Google product), followed closely by Internet Explorer (all versions), followed by Firefox. For Internet Explorer versions, IE8 was the most popular at 25.87% followed by IE9 at at 16.77%, (as of 4Q, 2012). If a dealer is concerned about a website page not working in a certain browser you can use Google Analytics to see exactly how many visitors use that browser when visiting your site. We've heard other website providers tell clients that "nobody uses that browser" if having an issue. Better to get the actual numbers and confirm or not.
Cache Temporary storage area used to store webpages you have recently seen. When you go back to those pages they'll load more quickly because they don't need to be downloaded again. Clearing your cache deletes recently opened pages and images.
Conversion Any action taken by a prospect (website visitor) and defined by a business owner or vendor as valuable. (Online form, phone call, time spent on page, newsletter signup, etc)
Conversion Rate See conversions. Formula of taking one metric of online visitor activity and dividing it by an agreed upon website activity (conversion) to equal a percentage. Ten visitors and one conversion equals 10% conversion rate. In the automotive industry accurate data depends on the definition of a conversion and the metrics that support it. Does the definition include phone calls & website forms? Does it include sales & service & parts? Then, determining what your metrics are: total traffic or unique visitors? Other major factors in the equation include use of 3rd party services that can siphon conversions to another source (chat, Value Your Trade, 3rd party credit app), inventory pricing, loss leaders (inexpensive oil changes), major offers ($250 off your next vehicle purchase) or omission of pricing which forces customer to communicate (aka, 'conversion'). Finally, the quality of those conversions should be factored with dealer resources. For example, adding a "Make Any Offer" button, may increase conversions and activity but not sales.
CPA Cost per Action: A pricing model that only charges advertising on an action being conducted e.g. a sale or a form being filled in. Or, Cost Per Acquisition: Cost to acquire a new customer.
CPC Cost per click of an online advertisement.
CPM Cost Per Thousand. The cost of achieving one thousand impressions.
CPP Cost Per (Rating) Point. In traditional media (radio & TV),
CPV Cost per view. Rising metric as paid ads on You Tube become more prevalent.
CPV Cost per view. Rising metric as paid ads on You Tube become more prevalent.
Cross Browser compatibility The ability of a website and all of it's components to function effectively in all browsers such as all versions of Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, etc.
CSS Cascading style sheets. Programing language used to define the style of web content.
CTR Paid Search Term. Click through rate. Frequency of click-throughs as a percentage of impressions served. Used as a measure of advertising effectiveness.
Destination URL Paid search term. The "hidden" landing page of a paid search ad you want visitors to land on. Your display URL in your ad might be but if the ad is about hundreds of used cars, your destination url might be
Digital body language* Newly coined, creative term for website user characteristics.
Direct traffic Analytics term. Visitors who type in your exact url to find your website as opposed to searching for you or a variation of your name. When you buy traditional media that does a great job of branding your website url, you will see Direct Traffic go up.
Double Serving Multiple paid search campaigns, accounts all directing to the same domain which can result in penalty, ads not serving due to rules by Google and other publishers. Designed to prevent one domain trying to dominate all paid search positions. Can happen by unknowing clients who hire out multiple paid search companies or individuals.
Duplicate Content Content or "near duplicate" content that appears on more than one web page. There are two types, non-malicious and malicious. Malicious refers to content that is duplicated or near duplicated intentionally to try to manipulate SERPs to increase traffic. See also article spinning, spintax software.
Dwell time Dwell time is a measure of online ad campaign performance that shows the amount of time a user spends actively engaging with an ad, without necessarily clicking on it. Examples include rolling a mouse over the ad, playing video content in it, or expanding it.
Ecommerce Sites Websites in which all revenue is contained online. Most Ecommerce sites do not want in person visits, phone calls, etc. In the late 90s many companies built their first rudimentary e-commerce websites. Amazon's first profitable year was 2003.
FTP File Transfer Protocol. A program or protocol used to transfer files from your computer to your server.
Fully Responsive Website Website technology that responds to the user's environment/device based on screen size and orientation.
Geofencing A feature that tracks the GPS (location) to determine geographical areas of a device. Geo meaning the area, Fencing meaning boundaries of an area.
Ghosting Craigslist term when you think your ad was posted (post ID, url exists for your review) but CL algorithms have caught it and prevented publication. (prior to paid change on December 5, 2013)
Google Adwords Paid search done through a Google Adwords account. Capabilities includes text ad placement, display ad placement, remarketing, You Tube / video campaign placement and more.
Google alerts Simple, free resource to set up and receive alerts for keywords, terms, competitor names of interest.
Google Panda Released in February of 2011. Algorithm changes to reward "high quality sites" to the top of the SERPs. Panda was one set of over 500 algorithm improvements in 2011. Google used artificial intelligence (built from human experience) to measure quality such as design, speed, trustworthiness and whether or not people would revisit a website.
Google Penguin Released in April of 2012. Focus was in deranking SERPs of websites that violate Google's Webmaster Guidelines. These are otherwise called Black Hat Tactics. These tactics include deliberate creation of duplicate content, keyword stuffing, and participating in link schemes. Penguin 1.1 was released in May of 2012. Penguin 3 was released in October of 2012.
Header Data and image block at the top of a website.
Hamburger Menu or navigation icon with three lines. The hamburger menu (sometimes called Hot Dog menu) is small which makes it easier to view on smaller devices such as mobile or tablets.
HTML Hyper Text Markup Language. Main markup language for creating web pages and other information that can be displayed in a web browser. XHTML is a reformulation of HTML using XML. It continues to be developed.
Hyperlink Links that are attached to words or phrases to make them clickable and directed to another page or document.
I Frame A website page that frames around another website for content purposes.
Impressions The metric used to measure views of a webpage and its elements. Ad Impressions are how most online advertising is sold and the cost is quoted in terms of the cost per thousand impressions (CPM).
Indexed pages Pages in a website that are in search engine index. Google's process is algorithmic with many factors such as page rank and website architecture determining how often and how many pages to fetch.
Infographic An infographic is a graphic visual representation of information, data or knowledge.
Invalid Clicks Paid search term. Clicks that Google considers to be illegitimate. Sophisticated software to identify malicious clicks designed to drive up an advertiser's cost. Invalid clicks are automatically filtered and credited in users accounts.
IP address The numerical Internet address assigned to each computer on a network so that it can be distinguished from other computers. Expressed as four groups of numbers separated by dots. Find yours at
LAN Local Area Network. A group of computers connected together, which are at one physical location.
Lead Nurturing* Newly coined term. Robust follow up process and communication with leads submitted via the internet using automated systems instead of humans.
Load Times / Site Speed How fast a website or pages are delivered when navigating from page to page or running queries. In 2010, Google incorporated site speed as a signal in determining search rankings. Also a factor in visitor experience and userability. Visitors do not want to wait as they see the time bar/revolving circle moving at slow speed.
Location targeting Paid search term. Basic best practice to show ads only in geographic areas of interest for a certain campaign. Settings can include radius targeting (20 miles around Anytown, USA), political areas, zip codes, etc. Settings also can include exclusions. For example you could set the location target as Seattle DMA but exclude the town of Puyallup.
Log files A record of all the hits a web server has received over a given period of time.
Meta tag/description Identifies the content of a webpage for the search engines.
Microsite Individual web page or small cluster of pages with specialized, promotional or temporary content. Typically microsite domain names are brand new and lack SEO validity. Matt Cutts, engineer and head of Google search has stated that microsites are rarely a good idea. Microsites with a domain name purely for matching keyword search queries have also been targeted (a quote from Matt Cutts in 2010: "we're turning the knob down within the algorithm -- it wouldn't necessarily help you as much to have a domain with a bunch of keywords in it.") Specialized content is typically better served inside the primary website, creating a larger footprint. If you are buying microsites as an SEO tactic from a vendor, a red flag is hearing no recommendation to put Analytics on them.
Navigation bar Slang : Nav Bar. The compass of the site, or row of buttons on each page of the website that allow a visitor to navigate through the site with consistency.
Opt-In / Opt-Out Typically for email marketing. A user has either provided permission to use their personal data or has stated they do not want their data being used for communication/marketing.
Organic search results The 'natural' search results that appear in a separate section to the paid listings. They are ranked by the search engine (using spiders or algorithms) according to relevancy to the term searched upon.
Overlay In advertising, online advertising content that appears over the top of a webpage. For automotive, overlays can refer to visuals on inventory photos
Play Rate Paid search term. For video campaigns, how often your ad's video was played versus how often the ad was shown.
Quality Score Paid search term. A measurement of how relevant your ads, keywords, and landing page are to a person seeing your ad. Higher Quality Scores can lead to lower prices and better ad positions.
QR Codes Quick response code. Type of matrix barcode, designed to be read by an imaging device such as a camera on a smartphone that also has a specialized app installed to translate the QR code. Links to a URL for more information about the product, service or promotion. QR codes on websites, by their nature, are redundant if the QR code is pointing to existing site.
Referral traffic Website traffic that is sent to you from external websites (not from the search engines). If your website url is linked on Seattle Times or AutoTrader and a visitor clicks, that is a referring website.
Registrar Entity that manages domain names. Includes Network Solutions, GoDaddy. provides much data including Administration & Technical contacts, expiration, history, etc of domain names.
Remarketing See retargeting.
Reputation management Originally a PR term, it is now primarily referred to as a client's online reputation (and the management of it). Online reputation is determined by users who post on review aggregator websites like Yelp, Citysearch as well as properties such as Google Plus. Astroturfing is a newly coined word in the space for users who create false identities to create reviews on behalf of a client (negative reviews for competition or positive reviews for client).
Retargeting Re-targeting is a means of audience targeting that uses cookies to identify whether users have been exposed to a website or advertiser's campaign and what actions they have taken. Ads can then be targeted at users who have been exposed.
Robots Software programs developed by search engines to crawl websites, store addresses and index keywords and text of pages. Also referred to as spiders or crawlers. Google suggests in quality guidelines to Use robots.txt to prevent crawling of auto-generated pages that don't add much value for users coming from search engines.
RSS Really Simple Syndication. Software that allows you to flag website content (often from blogs or new sites) and aggregate new entries to this content into an easy to read format that is delivered directly to a user's device.
SEM Search Engine Marketing. The process for all efforts aiming to get websites listed more prominently ~ from organic search efforts to paid search.
SEO Search Engine Optimization. All efforts to optimize a website to improve SERPs. Google strongly advises quality and "best practices" as opposed to "black hat tactics" which run the risk of penalty or demotion as they perfect algorithms.
SERP Search Engine Results Page. A listing of results returned by a search engine in response to a keyword query.
Sitemap An index of all pages in the website. Whereas, book indexes are chronological, a sitemap provides a top down view of the contents. Sitemaps enable the search engine crawlers to find the pages.
Site Speed / Load Times How fast a website or pages are delivered when navigating from page to page or running queries. In 2010, Google incorporated site speed as a signal in determining search rankings. Also a factor in visitor experience and userability. Visitors do not want to wait as they see the time bar/revolving circle moving at slow speed.
Spintax software Used for article spinning to mechanically replace words and phrases with synonyms, enabling thousands of pages of near duplicate content to be created automatically. See article spinning and duplicate content.
Splog Spam blog. Created in misleading manner, giving the effect of a legitimate website but often written using spinning software. Used for link authority of target sites.
SSL Secure Socket Layer. An SSL certificate is an electronic key that ensures that online transactions are secure.
Stickiness How engaged a user is on the site. Typically measured by duration of visit but slow site speeds can affect accuracy.
Title tag The title of a website page
Traffic Analytics term for raw number of visitors.
Traffic Estimator Tool Provides an estimation of search activity of a certain keyword or phrase in a designated geographic area. Good starting place to audit vendors who sell services promising top listings for certain terms. If no search activity for those terms, it's like paying for a video on YouTube ~ that has zero views. Or, paying for an outdoor billboard ~ in the middle of the Sahara desert.
Unique Visitors Number of unique visitors who come to your website in a certain time period. If a visitor comes to your site 25 times in one week, they only count as a unique visitor. Tip: Exclude your dealership IP from your analytics.
URL Uniform Resource Locator. Technical term that is used to refer to web address of a particular website.
Viral Marketing For branding purposes, refers to the idea that people will share entertaining content such as poignant, funny or emotional videos, games or contesting.
Virtual inventory Software designed to add inventory (all model variations and colors) to your website so that it appears that you have much more than you actually do. Many web providers have this but it's not often implemented because of potentially negative customer experiences of discovering the car doesn't actually exist at dealership. (as well as OEM discouragement/legalities)
Web spam Also referred to as search spam, spamdexing, search engine poisoning. Deliberate manipulation of search engine indexes through a number of methods most broadly categorized into content spamming (article spinning, etc) or link spamming (link farms, link building software).
Widget An external application or plug-in module with individual characteristics that is not dependent on source/platform code. Motorwebs has many widgets such as Daily Countdown Special Clock, etc
XML Extensible Markup Language. Encoded format that is readable by humans as well as machines. Many CRMs require XML formatting.
*Newly coined terms by automotive industry vendors

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