Search Glossary

For many hoteliers, jumping into the foray of search marketing can seem daunting on many different levels, the least of which being the language that search marketers speak. The glossary below was created to ensure an understanding of frequently used terms.

Search Engine Results Page (SERP)
A search engine results page refers to the listings of results returned by a search engine after a search query has been made. SERPs include both paid and non-paid listings.

Sample SERP

Organic Search – Also known as Non-Paid Search, Natural Search
Organic search results are listings on search engine results pages that appear due to their perceived relevance to the search query. Organic Search results are not advertisements and require no payment to appear.

Organic SERP Listings

Paid Search
Paid search results are listings on search engine results that appear due to an advertiser paying for positioning. The most common paid search results are generated by Pay Per Click advertising.

Paid SERP Listings

PPC (Pay Per Click)
Pay Per Click is a pricing model through which an advertiser is charged if and only if a user clicks on an ad. PPC is the most common form of search ads and Google Search is the largest purveyor of PPC ads. PPC ads are typically located at the top of a SERP as well as along the right side.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
Search engine optimization is the process of improving the visibility of a website within “organic search”. SEO, both an art and science, consists of a variety of tactics designed to publish information and market it in a manner that helps search engines understand the relevance of your content in relation to search queries.

SEM (Search Engine Marketing)
SEM can refer to Paid Search campaigns only or the combination of Paid Search and SEO, depending on the context.

Search Query
A search query is the keyword or phrase a user enters into a search engine to generate SERPs.

Search Query

CTR (Click-Through Rate)
CTR (click-through rate) refers the percentage of impressions a listing receives that result in a click. Formulaically derived by (Clicks/Impressions)x100

Site Visits
Visits represent the number of individual sessions initiated by all the visitors to your site. If a user is inactive on your site for 30 minutes or more, any future activity will be attributed to a new visit. Users that leave your site and return within 30 minutes will be counted as part of the original session. An individual can visit a site multiple times.

Unique Visitors
A unique visitor refers to a single person who visits a website any number of times. For example, one unique visitor might make several visits to a website over a number of days. That individual would count for multiple site visits, but only one unique visit.

A pageview is defined as a view of a page on your site. If a visitor reloads a page, this will be counted as an additional pageview. If a user navigates to a different page and then returns to the original page, a second pageview will be recorded as well.

Internal links
An internal link is a link from one page on a site to another page on the same site. Place links to relevant related pages within the content of your site to help further show the relationship between pages, and improve the usability of your website.

Sample Internal Link

Meta Content
Metadata describes backend programming data designed to help the search engines understand your site’s content. Web pages often include metadata in the form of meta tags. The most commonly used meta tags include the title, description, and keywords tags. Most search engines use this data when adding pages to their search index.

Meta Content From the Site:

Sample Meta Content

Meta Content as displayed within the SERP:

SERP Listing Displaying Meta Content

Alt tags and Header (H) tags
ALT and H tags are meta content designed to enhance the user experience on a site. The ALT attribute is designed to be an alternative text description for images. The TITLE attribute can be used for just about any page element to help describe that element, but it not required. H Tags are used to describe the content on the site that is to follow.

Sample Alt Tags

Engine Crawlers
A search engine crawler (also called a “spider”) is a program or automated script that browses the web in a methodical manner in order to provide up-to-date data to the particular search engine. The information provided by the crawlers is what determines which sites will populate the SERPs for particular search queries.

Keyword Share
Keyword Share (also known as Search Share) refers to the number of keywords on a search engine for which a website is visible. The greater the number of visible keywords, the greater the search share. This can be a measure of effectiveness for a search engine optimization strategy and is a good way to measure the visibility of a site in relation to its comp set. There are many programs designed to measure the keyword share, such as SEMRush, Wordstream, and Keyword Spy, among others.

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