If you’re a complete beginner to the world of pay-per-click advertising (PPC), check out the Paid Search Basics Best Practice Guide for a good primer. There’s a fundamentals guide and glossary for SEO, too.

301 redirect – permanent redirect

Interpreted by search engine robots that the current domain/URL is no longer valid. All links to the domain/URL (and PageRank) are typically assigned to the site/webpage that is pointed to by the redirect. Redirects are used to amalgamate PageRank and give a single URL for a company or group of products. This redirect is implemented on the server (server-side).

404 ‘Page not found’

An error issued by a web server when there is no page at this address. A custom 404 page can be created to indicate to the user that the page is no longer available and to give choices for alternative information.

Some websites use fun 404 pages to engage customers, others use practical pages with clear links to help the visitor.

Screenshot: 404 error page on Econsultancy.com

Econsultancy 404 page screenshot

A/B testing

A/B or AB testing refers to testing two different versions of a page or a page element such as a heading, image or button. The two versions are served alternately with the visitors to the page randomly split between the two pages. Hence it is sometimes called ‘live split testing’. Changes in visitor behaviour can then be compared using different metrics such as click-through rate on page elements like buttons or images or macro-conversion rates, such as conversion to sale or sign-up. AB testing is aimed at increasing page or site effectiveness against key performance indicators including CTR, conversion rates and revenue per visit. AB testing should be completed against a control page. Since it doesn’t consider combinations of variables tested, for best uplift multivariate testing is increasingly used.

Above-the-line (ATL) marketing

These communications use media that are broadcast and published to mass audiences. For example television is an above the line communication. They tend to have broad reach but are difficult to measure.

Active Google ads

Ads are displayed in the Google Ads programme in response to a search within the search engines since they meet the quality-based minimum bid criteria. See also Inactive Google ads.

Ad blocking

Software installed by some mobile networks to prevent ads being displayed to their users when they search or use apps.

Ad Rank

A value that’s used to determine ad position and whether ads will display at all. Ad Rank is calculated using bid amount, the components of Quality Score (expected click-through rate, ad relevance and landing page experience), and the expected impact of extensions and other ad formats.

Ad text relevance

Ad text relevance is a Google-specific concept: it describes the degree of match between the words in the ad creative compared to the search term entered. Improved ad text relevance improves the Quality Score.

Affiliate marketing

Typically, a commission-based arrangement where referring sites (publishers) receive a commission on sales or leads by merchants (retailers). A lead may be based on data captured during an enquiry, or it could be simply a visitor to the site (a click), in which case it overlaps with paid-search marketing.

Agency commission

This is paid to search agencies by the search networks, borrowing a similar model to traditional media owners rewarding media buyers for selecting their media.

Allowable cost per customer acquisition (allowable CPA)

The maximum acceptable cost for gaining a new customer typically based on consideration of the average order value and/or lifetime value for gaining that customer type.

Anticipatory search

This puts micro-data from a webpage into a real-world context, with users on the go being able to locate products and services in real time. It works by anticipating what you want to search for as you type. Examples are Google Now, Siri, Alexa and Cortana. See also Voice search.

Audience targeting

Ads are displayed to a specific audience by matching them to people who have already expressed interest in what is being sold. Targeting can also be applied to customers with similar interests or using demographics. See also Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA), Customer Match and Demographics for Search Ads (DFSA) for more detail about the different types.

Bid management systems

Software or web-based services which partially automate the management of paid search advertising across a range of paid search networks. This is done by applying rules to display ads for specific keyphrases at particular bids, positions and times to achieve specified business aims – such as return on ad spend (ROAS), return on investment (ROI), profitability etc. – while minimising cost.

Bid multiplier

A feature of dayparting in Google which enables ads to be scheduled at a certain time of day with higher or lower bid amounts (max CPC), e.g. 80% in AM periods and 20% in PM periods. To use the bid multiplier feature, you need to enable ‘Advanced Mode Ad Scheduling’.

Bounce rates

Proportion of visitors to a page or site that exit after visiting a single page only, usually expressed as a percentage.

Brand-term leakage or hijacking

You lose potential clicks because other companies are advertising on your brand name or brand name plus related products.

Brand Uplift survey

A form of short survey run by Google to target YouTube users to identify what impact a video and/or display advert has had on you as a consumer. This allows brands to quickly see how its ad campaign impacted on customer’s purchase intent, brand awareness or brand favourability.

Bridging pages

Pages often used by affiliates where the site simply leads on to other sites through an affiliate or ad link. Potentially penalised through the Google Quality Score since this will be assessed by the Ads Robot ‘AdsBot-Google’.

Broad keyword matching

A match type where the ad is displayed even when the search term entered by the user is less closely related to that defined by the advertiser for displaying their ad. The search engine network determines related phrases such as when the words are typed in a different order. With a broad match in Google, you also enable an expanded match.

Content network listings

Sponsored links are displayed by the search engine on third-party sites.

Content network paid search marketing

Sponsored links are displayed by the search engine on third-party sites such as online publishers, aggregators or social networks. Ads can be paid for on a CPC, CPM or a CPA basis. There are also options for graphical or video ads as well as in addition to text-based ads. Ads are typically displayed adjacent to relevant content using algorithms which the search engines use to determine relevant ads based on relating trigger keywords to content analysis.

Contextual targeting

A form of Google Display Network listing that uses keyword level targeting to place your ads alongside content relevant to the keywords. The ads themselves are selected and served by automated systems based on the identity of the user and the content displayed.

Google’s system analyses the content of each webpage to determine its central theme, which is then matched to your ad using your keywords and topic selections, your language and location targeting, a visitor’s recent browsing history and other factors.

Click fraud

Clicking on sponsored links, typically arranged through competitors, for the sole purpose of costing the advertiser money.

Click-through rate (CTR)

The number of clicks on an ad or link as a proportion of ads or pages served. Usually expressed as a percentage. For example, if your ad has been displayed 100 times and you have received one click, the CTR is 1%.

Click-to-play (CTP) video ads

These video ads have an initial static image file that is displayed, encouraging users to click to view the full video. The proportion of viewers who click is known as the Play Rate.

Conversion Optimiser

A Google tool that analyses the search query, location of user and conversion history of sites on the content network to minimise cost per acquisition (CPA) for sites, which have conversion tracking in place. It is intended to reduce over-bidding for search queries that are less likely to convert, or under-bidding for search queries, which are more likely to convert.

Conversion rates

Proportion of visitors to a page or site that convert to the outcome required, such as lead or sale, usually expressed as a percentage. Conversion rates can be measured as a proportion of visits or visitors.

Conversion efficiency

This is a measure of how well a website or website page converts visitors to achieve the different outcomes or objectives required by marketers.

CPM (cost per thousand or CPT)

A payment model for online advertising where the advertiser is charged for every 1,000 views of the page containing the ad (page views or impressions) or more accurately, the ad itself (the ad is served 1,000 times).


Cookies are small text files stored on an end-user’s computer to enable websites to identify them. See also first-party cookies, third-party cookies, persistent cookies and temporary cookies.

Cost per acquisition (CPA)

Typically the promotional cost of acquiring a new customer.

Cost per click (CPC)

The cost paid per click to the search engine.

Customer Match

Use own email data to target users across Search, Gmail and YouTube and to Similar Audiences. This is significant as it is the first time this targeting can be carried out without the need for cookies.


A time of day-based bid adjustment allowing you to target prospective customers at different hours of the day consistent with their use of search engines and their purchase behaviour.

Demographics for Search Ads (DFSA) targeting

Specifically targeting an audience defined through their gender and age. You can select age and gender targets to show ads more frequently to these searchers. You do this by bidding more for keyword matches that meet your target demographic criteria. When you target audiences by age and gender your ads will also display to other customers, but you’ll only pay the extra bid amount for customers that fit your targeted audience.

Dependent variable

When testing the success of a campaign this is the output variable you are really interested in monitoring to see if it was affected or not. It can also be called the ‘measured variable’, the ‘responding variable’, the ‘explained variable’, etc. It’s easy to remember this one because it is dependent on the other variables.


A label indicated by the domain naming system (DNS) to denote the internet address (IP address) of a server. Global top-level domains (GTLDs) include countries such as .co.uk, .fr, .de as well as .com etc.

Dynamic ad creative

The keyphrase entered is automatically used in the ad headline or text. In Google, the syntax {KeyWord:<Default phrase>} is used to activate this feature when defining the ad headline or text. This typically results in greater relevance and higher click-through rates since the phrase entered matches that typed. A possible exception to this is when most advertisers for a keyphrase are using this approach, so there is little differentiation between them.

Dynamic keyword insertion

A feature offered by Google Ads and other ad networks which allows you to customise an ad to a searcher’s search query.

Dynamic remarketing ads

These are Product Listing Ads that specifically show products that a visitor looked at when they previously visited your site, increasing the potential for a customer to convert on your site.

Using Google-provided templates that contain price, image and text of your choosing, you can be much more responsive to latest offers and product inventory changes in the knowledge that this is all being driven from your latest product feed information.

Dynamic search ads

Ads created by Google by it crawling your website (or sub-sections of it you’ve specified) using a body template written by you with a dynamic headline. Dynamic search ads are a good way of increasing your ads without too much extra work.

Expanded match

This is a match type feature of Google Ads that is automatically part of a broad keyword matching. It means Google will display your ads when a user enters search terms which are synonyms, related phrases and plurals of your keyword.

Expanded Text Ads

Expanded Text Ads (ETAs) are an extension of standard text ads having an extra headline, longer descriptions and that are mobile-optimised by default.

Exact match

A match type, which specifies that the ad should be displayed only when the exact phrase with no other words associated is entered as the search term. For example, if the phrase match is defined by the advertiser as ‘plasma TVs’, the ad will only be displayed when the search engine user types this phrase, not when additional words extend the phrase such as ‘cheap plasma TVs’ or ‘plasma TVs sale’.

Expandable shopping ads

This feature increases the size of a Product Listing Ad as you swipe across it on a mobile device, revealing additional information like product ratings and availability at nearby stores.

First-party cookies

Cookies served by the site the user is visiting.

Gap analysis

Assessing the difference between the potential search volume on a phrase with the volume you actually receive, separated into Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Pay Per Click (PPC).

Generic search phrase

A simple keyphrase without any brand qualifiers such as ‘car insurance’.

Google AdSense programme

Publishers join AdSense to become part of Google’s content network. The site owner inserts scripts from Google into their page templates and then receives a revenue share from the ads on a CPM (cost per thousand) or more typically cost per click (CPC) basis. AdSense is so named since it is contextual – the content of the ad is targeted using keywords against an analysis by Google of the content of the page and links to the page. The sponsored links use a range of ad unit sizes including vertical skyscrapers (the classic ladder of ads on the right hand side of a site’s pages), horizontal banners and simple text links. Formats include text, graphical banners or video. Google receives around a third of its revenue from this source.

Google APIs

Google APIs are an ‘Application Programming Interface’ which enables any third party to develop software which call Google functions to perform queries with specific keyphrases. It requires the use of a Google API key. Google has different APIs, e.g. for Web (search engine), Mapping, Ads and Desktop. Developing programmes that interface with the API can help agencies or clients gain competitive advantage through performing more sophisticated analysis.

Google API key

Effectively a username issued by Google to control access to the different Google APIs.

Google encrypted search

When a searcher clicks on an organic listing in SERPs (search engine results pages), Google does not pass through the keyword query string. Instead, it reports the keyword ‘(not provided)’.

The impact of this is that there is less and less organic keyword data for web analysts to interrogate, making it harder for web marketing teams to know which keyphrases drive traffic, conversions and on-site events. This hampers search engine optimisation (SEO) programmes.

As a result, some marketers predict a need to increase paid search budgets to ensure that they are getting coverage of the keyphrases important to their business. Therefore, while encrypted search isn’t explicitly a paid search development, it does have an impact on paid search planning and investment.

Google Knowledge Graph

The Knowledge Graph is Google’s latest move towards semantic search, refining its search display to provide contextually relevant information from elsewhere on the web to improve the quality of results.

You need to understand the impact that Knowledge Graph information can have on paid search ad positions and click-through. For some search queries, there is a large amount of related information being displayed in the Knowledge Graph area. If this relates to your brand, it’s possible it could help increase click-through on the ad. If you’re bidding on generic keyphrases, it’s possible that this information could distract the searcher and reduce the number of people clicking.

Note: This is currently not applicable on the vast majority of transactional searches (one exception being ‘wine’) but can be seen on some brand searches (company brand, product brand). It’s unlikely that Google would compromise its revenue stream by filling search engine results pages (SERPs) for transactional keyword queries with Knowledge Graph data.

A useful sanity check for any paid search campaign is to see what information is being displayed in the Knowledge Graph for each keyword query. It might help you tailor your ad copy and creative.

Google-owned properties

Price comparison services offered by Google, e.g. Google Shopping, Google Hotel Search and Google Flight Search.

Google Quality Score

Quality Score is an assessment in paid search by Google Ads (and now other search engines) of an individual ad triggered by a keyword which, in combination with the bid amount determines the ranking of the ad relative to competitors. The primary factor is the click-through rate (CTR) for each ad, but Quality Score also considers the match between the keyword and the occurrence of the keyword in the text, historical CTRs, the engagement of the searcher when they click through to the site, the relevance of the landing page the user is taken to and the speed at which the page loads.

Google Shopping

Google Shopping is a Google service that allows users to search for products on online shopping websites and compare prices between different vendors. Products are displayed on the SERP. See also Product Listing Ads.

Impression share (IS) reporting

An option in Google reporting that can be used to indicate whether you are maximising the potential volume for a keyword. The IS percentage presents the proportion of time your ads were shown for a keyword against the maximum number of searches for that keyword. IS will be less than 100 if your daily budget is insufficient for the ad to be displayed for all searches, or if the rank of the ad is relatively low or if you are making extensive use of phrase or exact matches.

Inactive Google ads

Ads are not displayed within the Google Ads programme in response to a search within the search engines since they don’t meet the quality-based minimum bid criteria. However, they may still appear on the content network for relevant sites. Ads are marked as ‘inactive for search’ for keywords within Ads campaign management.

In-app advertising

Presentation of ads to customers within apps.


The words that are specified with the search ad network campaign management system for which you want your ads to display. In this guide we distinguish these from keyphrases.

Keyphrase analysis

A structured approach to identification of keyphrases used to attract visitors to your site through search marketing.

Keyphrase qualifiers

These are added to the generic keyphrase, e.g. ‘car insurance’ to narrow the search, e.g. ‘car insurance uk’.

Keyphrase variants

Different forms of a given keyphrase, i.e. plurals and different word sequence. Careful analysis of these can give better results.


The search query typed by the searcher into the search engine containing a string of keywords.

Keyword matching

A paid search technique that gives precise control of which ad you display for the combination of keywords entered by the searcher as their search term. Keyword matching is controlled through different match types.

Keyword portfolio strategy

Keyword bids are managed as a group rather than individually enabling bids to be set higher on some terms (typically ‘head’ terms) and lower on others (typically ‘tail’ terms).

Keyword relevance

Keyword relevance within Google is a specific concept that describes the match between the keyword triggering the ad and the search term entered. It is an important aspect of Quality Score.

Landing page

The destination page for a paid search click. It can be a homepage but more typically and desirably, a landing page is a page with the messaging focused on the offer in the ad. This will maximise Quality Score, conversion rates and brand favourability.

Local Inventory ads

These are Product Listing Ads that show ads to customers that are local to a retailer’s store, showing latest pricing and product availability. It is also possible to remarket to previous visitors who have already seen these type of ads.

Long tail concept

A frequency distribution showing the typical decline in popularity of items within a sector when a consumer has a choice in selecting those items. In search, the most common search terms for a site or market sector have much higher volumes than the less common phrases, which together are important in generating qualified visitors.

Lost IS (rank)

The percentage of impressions lost due to low Ad Rank (cost per click bid x Quality Score).

Lost IS (budget)

The percentage of impressions lost due to budget constraints.

Managed placements (placement targeting)

Google provides options to target individual sites and parts of sites within the content network through managed placements (formerly placement targeting or site targeting). Managed placements enable an individual site to be targeted using a cost per thousand/click/acquisition (CPM, CPC or CPA) payment option. Some sites within the Google Display Network offer targeting of individual sections of the site, hence the term managed placements. Performance of placements can be assessed through the performance placement reporting option.

Match types

These are rules defined by the search networks for controlling when advertisers’ ads are displayed dependent upon the search term entered by the search engine users. The three main types are precise matching, broad matching and negative matching.

Merchant Promotions (BETA)

Merchant Promotions are the special offer tags now visible on some advertiser PLAs, which at the time of writing are still in beta phase.

Minimum bid amounts

The minimum bid for a keyword is the lowest cost per click (CPC) that can be paid in order for the keyword to trigger ads. The minimum bid for a keyword is determined by its Quality Score.

Multivariate testing

Multivariate testing enables simultaneous testing pages for all combinations and variations of page elements that are being tested. These enable selection of the most effective combination of design elements to achieve the desired goal.

Maximum cost per click

The max CPC defines the maximum amount the advertiser is prepared to pay to the search engine, usually at a keyword or ad group level. It is a primary control of position, clicks referred and of course, cost.


Navigational search or searching behaviour searchers aim to go direct to a known company site by typing in the site or brand name. Alternatively, and less commonly, they will type the site or brand name and append a qualifier such as a product name to the brand or site name. This shortcuts the site navigation and may make up for shortcomings in the site’s own search engine.

Natural or organic listings

The pages listing results from a search engine query which are displayed in a sequence according to relevance of match between the keyword phrase typed into a search engine and a web page according to a ranking algorithm used by the search engine.

Negative matching (excluded words)

This match type prevents the ad being displayed when the search term entered by the user contains a word that has been defined by the advertiser as not relevant for displaying their ad.

Page tag-based tracking

A JavaScript code section is placed on your sales or registration confirmation or other value event pages and when the page is loaded it records the event on a server that can be related back to a cookie, which was placed when the ad was clicked upon.


Google’s trademarked approach to assess the value of a web page based on the number of inbound links or backlinks.

Paid listings of a search engine

A relevant ad with a link to a company page is displayed when the user of a search engine types in a specific phrase. A fee is charged for every click of each link, with the amount bid for the click mainly determining its position.

Paid for inclusion (PFI)

The advertiser specifies pages with specific URLs for incorporation into the search engine organic listings. There is a setup fee and/or annual fee and per pay click charge. Yahoo Search Submit is the best-known programme.

Paid search marketing

There are two types of paid search marketing: PPC paid search engine marketing (SEM) and content network paid search marketing (which may be on a pay per click [PPC] basis or on a cost per thousand [CPM] basis).

A relevant text ad with a link to a company page is displayed when the user of a search engine types in a specific phrase. A fee is charged for every click of each link, with the amount bid for the click mainly determining its position.

Pay per click (PPC) paid search marketing

A relevant text ad with a link to a company page is displayed on the search engine results page (SERP) when the user of a search engine types in a specific phrase. A fee is charged for every click of each link, with the amount bid for the click mainly determining its position.

Pay per action

A Google affiliate option offering cost per acquisition (CPA) placements within the content network.

Persistent (permanent) cookies

Cookies placed on a user’s computer, which are permanent between multiple sessions. Useful for identifying repeat visits to sites.


An approach to website design which involves maximising returns from web investments based on web analytics, heuristics and usability.

Phrase match

A match type specifying what should be displayed when the phrase plus other words are entered as part of the search term. For example, if the phrase match is defined by the advertiser as ‘plasma TVs’, the ad will displayed when the search engine user types this phrase, plus additional words extending the phrase such as ‘cheap plasma TVs’ or ‘plasma TVs sale’.

Placement targeting

See managed placements.

Placement tool

A tool within Google Ads for specifying sites for setting up and controlling managed placements on the Google Display Network. It indicates the audience size of the site and the capability for placing different types of media and advertising in different sections.

Precise keyword matching

A match type where the ad is displayed when the search term entered by the user is very closely related or identical to that defined by the advertiser for displaying their ad. Common approaches are the phrase match and exact match of Google Ads and Bing Ads and the advanced match of Yahoo search marketing.

Product Listing Ads (PLAs) aka Google Shopping

Ads that are presented as a thumbnail image of an individual product, often shown alongside other traditional paid search ads. A PLA format enables advertisers to include an image, title, price, promotional message and business name within the ad, without the need to create unique ads for each product being sold. They use an existing Merchant Center product feed – not keywords – to decide how and where to show your ads.

Promoted places (or pins)

These are pin points and logos that will appear on the Google Map interface for companies that pay to display them. These pins are visible when a user has Google Maps open, when getting directions and while using the app for navigation.

Quality-based bidding

Bidding to set your position in the sponsored listings results is determined not just by price, but by a combination of other relevant factors indicated by the Quality Score.

Quality-based minimum bids

A Google feature that means that ads for a keyword will only be displayed as active Google ads for ads which are above its quality threshold for the Quality Score. Inactive Google ads may still appear on the content network.

Quality-based positioning

The position of an advertiser’s ad in the sponsored listings is dependent not only on the amount they bid, but also on the relevance of the ad determined, in particular its click-through rate and other Quality Score factors.

Quality Score

See Google Quality Score.

Remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA)

This is targeting based on building a set of audience data and then targeting those audiences based on their behaviour. Audiences can be built around data captured from website visitors, mobile app users, customer’s emails and YouTube.

Return on ad spend (ROAS)

This is the ratio of revenue to ad cost for paid search.

ROAS is often calculated at account level, but can also be calculated for individual campaigns, and ad groups, keywords or adverts for more granular reporting. This can be expressed as either a factor (e.g. 3:1) or in percentage terms (e.g. 300%).

Return on investment (ROI)

This is the ratio of revenue to total cost for paid search. ROI differs from return on ad spend (ROAS) because it takes into account the full cost of the marketing, not just the ad cost. This can include product cost and agency fees. This is an important differentiation because a campaign can deliver a positive ROAS but a negative ROI. Depending on how your business is measuring paid search performance, this can be the difference between continued investment and pausing campaigns.

ROI is often calculated at account level, but can also be calculated for individual campaigns, and ad groups, keywords or adverts for more granular reporting. Again, this can be expressed as either a factor (e.g. 3:1) or in percentage terms (e.g. 300%).


Automated software agents located on a search engine server that collect page data from different sites by following links between pages and sites. Robots follow policies that determine how often they visit a site. Search engine robots collect data about each page, which is added into the search engine index.


Robots.txt is text file located on the root directory of each domain used to instruct a robot to include or exclude page(s) from a site. See http://www.robotstxt.org/robotstxt.html for required format.

Search engine marketing (SEM)

Promoting an organisation through search engines to meet its objectives by delivering relevant content in the search listings when they search and encouraging them to click through to a destination site. The two key techniques of SEM are: search engine optimisation (SEO) to improve results from the natural listings; and paid search marketing to deliver results from the sponsored listings within the search engines through pay per click (PPC) paid SEM and through content network paid search marketing (which may be on a cost per click/thousand [CPC or CPM] basis).

Search engine optimisation (SEO)

A structured approach used to increase the position of a company or its products in search engine natural or organic results listings for selected keyphrases.

Search engine results page (SERP)

The page(s) containing the results after a user types in a keyphrase into a search engine. SERPs contain both natural and organic listings, and paid, or sponsored listings.

Search journey

The sequence of searches a user will type in and the different types of site they will visit from when they start searching until they find what they are looking for (this is a purchase on a transactional site). Companies should be able to track at individual user level to review the ranges of searches entered.

Secondary search box (Google)

In March 2008, Google incorporated a secondary search box beneath the listing for some brands within its natural listings which, if used invokes a ‘search within site search’. This may cause some brand searchers to be distracted by competitor ads, so its implications should be assessed.

Share of search

Proportion of paid search clicks for a particular keyword or product category.

Shopping comparison engine

Sites like Kelkoo, Pricerunner or Shopping.com, which compare prices of different products and services.

Shopping remarketing lists

These enable you to target your shopping campaigns only at those users who have previously visited your website and/or performed certain actions. By duplicating your shopping campaign structure for these more qualified audience remarketing lists only, you can set different bids to attempt to increase prominence in the shopping results.

Showcase Shopping ads

This form of Google Product Listing Ads feature three product images — a main image and two smaller side images — and either a promotional message or the retailer’s distance from the user for Local Inventory Ads at the bottom of the ad.


When visitors to a retail outlet compare prices of products in store with prices from other retailers online.

Site exclusion tool

Used to exclude sites in the Google content network from displaying ads. Sites are excluded on a campaign-by-campaign basis.

Sitelinks (Google)

These are the smaller links that appear below a main link to a site on Google’s search engine results page (SERPs) for a brand search. They are generated automatically based on the main navigation elements and popular content based on Google click-through analysis.

Site targeting

See managed placements.

Strategic target keyphrases

Important target keyphrases that are targeted for search engine optimisation (SEO) and potentially paid search, since they combine high volume and intent to purchase or other required site outcomes, consistent with usage by the site’s target audience.

Temporary (session) cookies

Cookies used for tracking within pages of a session such as on an ecommerce site.

Third-party cookies

Cookies served by another site to the one the user is currently viewing – typical for portals where an ad network will track remotely or where the web analytics software places a cookie. These are typically persistent cookies.

Trusted feed

A trusted feed is an automated method of putting content into a search engine index or an aggregator database.


Your ads are not displayed throughout the day because your specified budget is too low.

Universal search

The natural listings incorporate other relevant results from vertical searches related to a query, such as video, books, scholar, news, sitelinks and images.

URL parameter-based tracking

The referrer and details of the search are indicated in the URL tracking parameters (query string) and the sale is monitored once the user is on the site, either through placing cookies or tracking the visitor through some form of session identifier which is part of the content/commerce management system.

User agent

The client application or software service which initiates a request for a web page. Examples include web browsers and spiders.


An approach to website design intended to enable the completion of user tasks and to improve the user experience. Typically measured by increasing task completion rates and decreasing completion time (or number of clicks).

Video ad

Movie ads that display before appropriate YouTube videos, and may also be suggested in the sidebar of the site’s search and watch pages.

Voice search understands what users need, and when, in real time. It works based on context, i.e. what app they are using, what websites they have open, and where they are, offering suggestions based on their needs and behaviours. It is the ultimate in personalisation and is tied into anticipatory search. It is a mobile function that also tends to be localised.

Yahoo/Bing Search Alliance

A joint venture to sell advertising on both Yahoo search and Bing as a single platform. This relationship changed in May 2015 allowing Yahoo to target mobile users.

Yahoo Gemini

A competing search network to Google comprising a unified marketplace bringing mobile search and native ads together. Gemini covers all mobile and native advertising on Yahoo and Bing.