A Simple Guide to Common Agency Jargon

A definitive guide to some common "web" jargon to help you become a more informed buyer when it comes to web design & digital marketing services.

We all know that SEO is vital to helping modern business get found online in amongst a sea of competition. For me, its like the fuel in a car. Pairing your business with the wrong agency is like using the wrong fuel in your vehicle. An expensive mess that damages your engine and takes time to clean up.
Well, just as Pilots talk shop, Digital Experts have their terms that they use to baffle customers, business and honestly, themselves! This guide aims to bring some clarity to the words they use, so you can make some more informed purchasing decisions when it comes to digital marketing.

ALT (Alternative) Text: Alt-text is a descriptive text that’s associated with an image on your website. Initially, it was created so that screen readers (who interpret websites for visually impaired people) can read the content of your pictures out loud. Soon though, someone realised that these could be used to implement keywords, even if those keywords have nothing to do with the image! This gives search engines some context to your website so that they can rank it for searches based on relevance to the search. It’s a great way to include keywords without ruining your content.

Anchor Text: Anchor text is text on a web page that stands out from other text. These can be used for a hyperlink (explanation below) or a mailto link (again, more below). It’s handy to give your users critical information without them needing to read all of your copy.

Hyperlinks: A hyperlink is a link to another page on the web. Having backlinks helps direct traffic towards your website, thus increasing your domain authority and meaning that search engines are more likely to rank your pages.

Mailto Link: A mailto link is a link to an email address. If you had mailto:email@example.com, pressing it would start a new email from your default mail client to the email address shown in the link.

Backlink: A backlink is another website that links back to yours. These are great for establishing a domain authority. Credible backlinks, for instance, one from a popular website will boost your digital visibility.

Destination anchor: This is the destination that clicking any given hyperlink leads you to. When you click the anchor text, you are taken to the destination.

Domain: The domain name is the unique web address given to any website. A domain has a prefix and an extension. The prefix will be https:// or http:// depending on if your website is secure. The extension will be .com, .net, .org or whatever you choose.

Subdomain: A subdomain is a word between the prefix and the web address in a domain name. A subdomain looks like subdomain.example.com.

Slug: A URL is the full-length web address of a website, like https://www.example.com whereas the slug is example.com/slug.

Secure Socket Layer: An SSL certificate is a digital certificate, usually provided for free by a domain registrar that allows the end-users computer to connect to your web server with an encrypted connection. If you have a valid certificate against your website, the prefix will be https://www.example.com.

Encryption: Encryption is a secure connection between two web-facing devices. If a message is encrypted, it will be scrambled and travel to its destination before unscrambling and being displayed to the recipient.

Registrant: A domain registrant is a business that allows you to control a domain name. Typically, they will enable you to host websites, configure email and deploy apps to. Famous examples include Godaddy or 1&1 IONAS, but we prefer fasthosts.co.uk.

DNS: DNS stands for Domain name system. This is often in the form of a web portal, and it allows you to control every aspect of a domain name. For instance, you can create a subdomain, configure email, web forwarding or perhaps make changes to the various domain name records. Common examples of domain name records include MX Records, DMARC Records, TXT Records, A Records and more. If you need more help with these, please seek advice from us.

Do Follow/No Follow Links: Every link, in its standard format, is a do-follow link. These links encourage search engine crawlers (more below) to follow them. You can disable this by using a NoFollow link if you do not want the linked page to be indexed in searches.

Analytics: Analytics is a common word, but in terms of SEO, it relates to monitoring the traffic and behaviour of your website so that you can make more informed marketing decisions, changes to your website or perhaps learning about your audience. This is usually done through the use of Google Analytics, a free and powerful web tool!

Engagement Rate: This is the amount of engagement (likes, comments and shares) that web content gets in relation to the total number of impressions it gets. If you have ten viewers and five engagements, then your rate of engagement is 50%.

Impressions: The total number of unique “views” that web content gets.

Conversion Rate: The conversion rate is the relationship between the volume of traffic your website gets, and how much of that traffic buy your products, sign up to a newsletter or get in touch.

Bounce Rate: The conversion rate is the relationship between the volume of traffic your website gets, and how much of that traffic buy your products, sign up to a newsletter or get in touch. If your website has 100 visitors, and 90 of them bounce, then you have a 90% bounce rate. Like most of the metrics outlined in this guide, you can use analytics to determine your bounce rate, engagement rate and conversion rate.

Users/Sessions: Users are the number of unique users or devices that visit your website. Sessions are the number of times that your website is interacted with. If you have 20 users, and 40 sessions, then your users are coming back twice on average.

Keywords: Keywords are words related to what you offer, that search engines can pick-up on to rank your website for key search terms that users may search for, and then end up visiting your website. There are many ways to implement these effectively (with some big do’s and dont’s), so please contact us for more info. A great way to find keywords relevant to what you do is the FREE ubersuggest platform by Neil Patel.

Duplicate content: Self-explanatory but very important. Google has algorithms (defined below) that will de-rank your website if you duplicate content, you can’t just spam to get ranked any more.

Indexing/Crawlers: These sound terrifying, but they aren’t. These are little programs developed by a search engine that read the content on your website and rank it in order of relevance to any given search.

Algorithms: You will hear this term all of the time. An algorithm is some code, a mini-program that reads and interprets your website to rank it based on its relevance to a given search. Savvy marketers study these closely to find flaws and then exploit them for the benefit of their clients, but lots of tried and tested SEO can help fool them too.

Key performance indicator: This is simply a measure of how well your website is doing. Good examples of KPI’s include bounce rate, conversion rate, users, sessions (all of which I have elaborated on above!)

Latent semantic indexing: LSI’s are secondary keywords that are relevant to your content. If you sell coffee, some LSI’s maybe: mug, grinder and latte. You can include these in your content as they are relevant to your keywords, and will contribute to your search engine discoverability.

XML Sitemap: An XML sitemap is a logical format that search engines can read to understand the content on your website. These are key if you’re looking to rank for SEO.

Linkbuilding: Linkbuilding is the process of getting backlinks for your website. This can be done organically if other publishers like your content or intentionally like guest posting on another website, being listed in a directory or paying for promotion.

Domain authority: The domain authority of a website describes its relevance for a specific subject area or industry. This relevance has a direct impact on its ranking by search engines.

Metadata/Meta descriptions: Meta Data is data behind a website, but that is not displayed on a web page. For instance, the page title is nested in the Meta, and it shows in your browser tab. A meta description is a description of a page read and displayed by search engines, but that does not appear on the page. These are great for including key search terms for SEO.

On-page/Off-page SEO: On-page SEO is optimisation done on the front end of your website. This includes alt tags, optimised copy and keywords, whereas off-page SEO is not done on your website. Examples of off-page SEO may include Linkbuilding, guest posting, paid advertising etc.

Organic search results: Organic search is simple. These are websites that naturally rank on Google based on their domain authority, the relevance of their content and several other factors. The only way to rank higher than these on Google is to out-optimise them or to invest significantly in paid ads. As you can see in this image, Google shows paid Ads first; then it shows Google Maps businesses as they are trying to push people towards their my business platform and then the first Organic result is madebyshape.co.uk.

Page rank: This is a Google Service that ranks websites based on relevance, importance, credibility and quality.

Supplemental index: The Sandbox index is a group of websites that are the lowest ranking on the web. They leave the group when they are well-optimised enough to be a part of the great wide web, and begin getting noticed on search engine results pages.

Title tags: This is a tag in the Meta that expresses a pages purpose so that the search engine can rank it based on relevance.

Hopefully, you found my article useful and now have a better understanding of some common “Web” jargon, thus making you a more informed buyer when it comes to web design or digital marketing. If there’s anything not on the post that you think I should add, send me a message and I will gladly help you out! Good luck 😁




Written by Luke Tarbuck, Director.

I began Tarbuck Digital in 2019 after too many bad experiences with too many agencies. Built on the principles of good old fashioned customer service, paired with modern technologies and strategy. My job is to help businesses realise their potential and grow according to their goals and budgets through the use of Web, Design + Marketing. I enjoy a personal relationship with each of my clients and thrive working with a diverse range of businesses’.

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Newsletters suck, right? There's nothing worse than a business you've hardly engaged with fills your inbox up with completely useless jargon to try and sell you something. I learned this simple, yet vital, fact back in 2019 when I set-up Tarbuck Digital and decided to create a newsletter that was actually worth reading. If you subscribe, you will receive short emails a few times each month providing invaluable insight to help grow your business. No hard-selling, no advertising and no data collection. Just me, writing engaging content to un-tangle the "geekspeak" that agencies use to baffle clients and providing actionable advice that you can use to win business. If you decide it's not for you, then you're free to unsubscribe at anytime. Although, you will be a part of less than 2% of my audience that does. Trust me. If you'd like to know more, click here to read my privacy policy.

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