In the digital world, an algorithm refers to a process – or a set of rules – created to perform a certain task. Developers create algorithms that a computer can perform in order to regularly complete the necessary function. Search engines like Google use algorithms to find and organise websites relevant to the user’s search terms. These algorithms are becoming increasingly sophisticated, placing more importance on quality web content.

Alt attribute

An alt (short for alternative) attribute is a piece of development code that is added to rich online content, e.g. an image or video. The alt attribute provides the user with a text-only description when the image can’t be displayed. Search engines also use the alt text to index online images.


API stands for Application Programming Interface. APIs are like digital bridges, enabling developers to connect two separate systems together so that data can be passed between the two.


App is the informal word for an application, which is a specialised piece of software. The term was popularised by Apple during its production and launch of the iPhone. Apps can be built for different purposes across different devices, especially smartphones and tablets, although they’re also commonly used on desktop computers.

Bounce rate

Bounce rate is defined by the number of visitors who leave a website after viewing only one page and without clicking on any links. A high bounce rate usually means that a website is performing poorly or that the wrong audience is reaching the site.

Click-to-open rate

The click-to-open rate is used to measure the effectiveness of email marketing. Emails can be tracked so that the dispatcher can view how many of the emails were opened by the recipients, and also how many of those recipients then took the desired action (e.g. clicked through to a landing page) – hence “click-to-open” rate. See Open rate.

Click-through rate

This term relates to the number of times users click on a link within a digital medium, e.g. an email, website banner or ad. A high click-through-rate often means that the context of the link was successful.


Conversion relates to users doing what a business wants them to do once they reach its website (and beyond) – from clicking on and downloading stuff to making a booking or purchasing a product. A website that has a high conversion rate is obviously a successful website.

Database marketing

If an audience has given a business permission to store and re-use their information, therefore becoming “subscribers”, then database marketing is the process of contacting these individuals to encourage them to remain engaged with that business.

Development code

Websites are built using markup and development code, which is basically information that developers input to program computers to perform specific tasks and display content in a desired way. Several code “languages” are available to developers.

Digital marketing

The use of digital media, such as websites, emails, social-networking sites and SMS, to promote a brand or business.

Google+ Local

Google+ Local is Google’s online directory for location-specific businesses. It allows companies to create a profile and link it to Google Maps, which means they can be found easier by potential customers when they search for local products, services or organisations using Google’s search engine.


HTML5 is the fifth version of HTML, which stands for HyperText Markup Language. HTML forms the building blocks of all websites, and consists of a series of common tags that allow the web browser to display information in a desired structure, making it easy to read. HTML5 is particularly noteworthy for enabling developers to work with a wider range of multimedia devices. An inbound link (also known as a backlink) is a hyperlink that links from a webpage on another website to a webpage on your own website.

Integrated marketing

A strategy to ensure that all online and offline marketing channels are working in unison, which helps maximise the impact of any activity. At CE, we always like to take a joined-up approach to projects and campaigns.

Keyword research

Keywords are words or phrases commonly used in internet searches. Keyword research is undertaken to define those words and phrases most relevant to a business and its customer base. These can be used in relevant content on and off the page (e.g. in meta tags) to increase the chances of a website being found by users and potential customers on search engines. Link building is a technique used to increase the amount of traffic reaching a website by establishing quality inbound links pointing to a website.

Meta tags

A meta tag is a piece of HTML code that is used to store information about a webpage. There are various tags for various bits of information, much of which sits “behind the scenes”, helping search engines to correctly index the page. However, the title and description tag are shown within search results to give users an accurate description of the page.


This is a website that is created to promote a specific message, and will usually sit alongside a primary website. Microsites often consist of only a few pages.

Multi-unit retail

Brands and businesses that operate across multiple premises.

Open-graph (OG) tags

OG tags allow developers to integrate any webpage into the Facebook social graph. This can be done through the creation of “rich objects”, e.g. button links that allow users to “like” or share a page with others. Developers can “attach” tags (i.e. written content) to these buttons, which appear when users post or share pages on their Facebook wall or Twitter account. So there’s an opportunity here for the website owner to influence how users share their material.

Open rate

Another term used to measure the effectiveness of email marketing, the open rate simply refers to the number of recipients opening an email. See Click-to-open rate.

Pay Per Click (PPC)

Pay-per-click advertising is a term used to describe an online advertising system in which a business only pays for ads when the link has been clicked.

QR Code

A QR (quick response) code is a type of barcode that can be read by scanners and smartphones. The code will take the user to a website containing rich, informative or engaging content.


This relates to the number of users who visit a digital platform , e.g. a website, on more than one occasion. The higher the retention rate, the more users are choosing to return.

Rich content

Quite simply, any content that contains a combination of different types of media – e.g. a webpage with text, images and video. Rich content helps to make websites more engaging.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

SEO is the process of increasing a website’s position in the search-engine listings. By improving the search ranking of a website, it will become more visible and therefore more likely to attract visitors. This term defines a search engine’s ability to consider two or more words in the context of one another, rather than on an individual basis. The aim of semantic search is to improve the relevance of search results.

Social media

Social media refers to any media that is created and shared by users through online networks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Flickr, Pinterest and YouTube.

Social sharing

Quite simply, the sharing of content from user to user(s) via digital platforms or social networks like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Google+ and email. See Open-graph tags.


As it suggests, usability indicates the ease of use of a product or service. In the digital arena, usability measures how easy a website, for example, is to use and get around, and how quickly the user can get what they came for.

User experience (UX)

User experience, or UX for short, simply refers to the experience that a person has online. For example, when building a website it’s important to consider how its users will view and interact with it. Clearly it’s in a business’s best interest to provide its customers with an experience that’s as positive and engaging as possible.

Virtual model

Working in a virtual model refers to a company that doesn’t operate from single premises and that often consists of self-employed team members. The virtual model provides many benefits, including time efficiency, flexibility, lower overheads and a greater network of skills and experience.


W3C stands for World Wide Web Consortium, whose aim is to make the web accessible to all users. W3C does this by developing guidelines and by ensuring that websites are accessible and compatible to as wide a community as possible.

Web programming

Web programming is often known as web development. Both terms refer to the act of building a website. Web programming in its simplest form involves writing markup and coding. If you’d like more digital marketing stuff in plain English, read our blog.