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Affiliate Marketing Glossary

by Britney Muller Last updated
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Affiliate Marketing Glossary.

Check this big list of the essential affiliate marketing terms that every affiliate marketer must know.


What is AdSense?

Part of the AdWords (PPC) advertising model from Google that pays publishers (websites) for displaying ads. Payment is generally based on the number of clicks made.


What is an Affiliate?

Anyone who markets another’s products in return for a commission.

This generally involves directing potential buyers to the merchant’s website in the hope they will buy and the affiliate will receive a commission.


What is an Affiliate Data Feed?

Affiliate data feeds are provided by merchants to affiliates to better promote and sell their products.

Data feeds are converted into individual products and include descriptions, links for images, links for visitors to click, pricing and more.

The affiliate can take the information in the feed and build individual pages for each product, or put multiple products on each page.


What is an Affiliate Link?

A link to a product that includes an affiliate’s id so, if the visitor buys the merchant’s product, the affiliate who referred the buyer can be tracked and receive a commission.


What are Affiliate Networks?

affiliate networks act as an intermediary between affiliates and the merchant’s affiliate program.

They normally offer services to both affiliates and merchants including reporting and payment services.

An example of an affiliate network is UpSalo.


What is an Algorithm?

An algorithm is any finite sequence of instructions (usually automated by a computer) that is used to process a request e.g. searching the web using a keyword.

As it relates to SEO, the term is mostly used in reference to Google’s propriety algorithms used to index websites.

Google regularly update their algorithms to improve the user experience and discourage spamdexing.


What is Anchor Text?

The clickable text in a hyperlink. Anchor text is a factor in off-page SEO, influencing what keywords a website will rank for, which has led to the practice of Google Bombing.


What is Article Marketing?

Article marketing is a type of advertising in which businesses write short articles related to their respective industry.

These articles are made available for distribution and publication in the marketplace (there are products available that automate this process).

Each article contains a bio box and byline that includes a link to the author’s affiliate website.

Well-written content articles have the potential of increasing the trust factor of your site, attracting new clients through direct traffic and improving the indexing of your site.

In some cases it can improve your ranking through backlinking.


What are Authority Sites?

Authority sites are websites recognized as having attributes that set them superior to the majority of sites such as a high PageRank, visually stunning, high number of incoming quality links, experts in their niche and are dynamic and fresh.


What is an Autoresponder?

An email, or series of emails, that are automatically sent to a new subscriber.

They often come in the form of a newsletter series, or mini-courses.


What is Black Hat SEO?

Black hat SEO tactics, also called spamdexing, attempt to redirect search results to particular target pages in a fashion that is against the search engines’ terms of service.

Some black hat SEO tactics include: keyword stuffing, hidden text and links, doorway and cloaked pages, link farming and blog comment spam.


What is Bookmarking?

To quickly access websites frequently visited a site can be bookmarked, or added to the favorites in a browser.

Some sites offer a link to visitors to automatically bookmark them.


What is Bum Marketing?

Bum marketing is a phrase coined to describe running an affiliate marketing business at zero cost, as if you were on the street with nothing (except a computer and internet connection).


What are Content Islands or Silo Content?

A collection of online content (websites or web pages) that link to each other, creating a content island.


What are Content Types?

On the internet there are many different types of written content.

An Article is traditionally a long non-fiction piece, describing something in detail.

It is usually timeless and can exist as standalone content.

A Blog is a collection of dated posts that are often short and to the point. While still being factual, they generally lean towards being a platform for the blog author to express their opinion.

A Press Release is a very concise statement aimed at the general public to announce something newsworthy and written in order to highlight an important event, program or piece of information.


What is a Contextual Link?

A link that appears within the body of content on a web page. This differs from links that appear in a menu.


What is a Conversion?

Conversion is when a visitor to a website completes a site goal, usually purchasing a product or redirecting them to the merchant site.


What are Conversion Rates?

Usually used to describe the ratio of visitors to a web page with those that complete the page’s goal e.g. to purchase a product or sign-up for a newsletter.


What is CPA?

CPA stands for Cost Per Action and is a method for affiliates to earn money by getting visitors to their site to perform an action, such as signing up to a merchant’s email newsletter.

Essentially it involves being paid for obtaining leads.


What is CPC?

CPC (Cost Per Click) is the cost to the PPC advertiser paid each time their ad is clicked on.


What is CPM?

CPM (Cost per thousand, where M is the roman numeral of 1000).

This is the cost per thousand page impressions for advertisers (for ad publishers it refers to revenue earned).


What is CTR?

CTR (Click-through Rate) is the ratio of visitors to a page to the number who click a link (usually an affiliate link).


What is a Domain Name?

A domain name is a human-friendly method for reaching a website.

Instead of remembering the actual IP address, an internet surfer can type in a domain name, such as www.affilorama.com, and a DNS (Domain Name Server) translates it into the IP addresss.


What is an Opt In?

Opt-in is a term used in email marketing to describe the process of someone who voluntarily signs up to mailing list.

Double (or verified) opt-in is the technique of requiring that a subscriber confirm their sign-up by clicking a link in an email sent to them before their subscription is completed.

This is required under anti-spam law in some countries.


What is Duplicate Content?

Duplicate content is when the same content exists on more than one web page. Most search engines will attempt to display only one version, thus penalizing the other copies.

While there is no strict definition on what is duplicate content and what isn’t, it is generally accepted that the more unique your content the more it is favored by search engines.

Google offers webmasters guidelines on how to avoid duplicate content penalties.

http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=66359


What is Email Marketing?

The practice of harvesting, or collecting, email addresses and marketing to them via email.

Generally the goal is to have them click through to a website and buy from a merchant.


What is External Linking?

A link on a web page that links to another website (i.e. a different domain name). It can also be termed as “Outbound Linking”.


What is a Feeder Sites?

A website setup specifically for the purpose of redirecting, or feeding, traffic to another site


What is a Fold?

Also known as Above the page fold.

This term is used to refer the part of a webpage that can be visible without scrolling, used to display the most important items.

It is complicated by the fact that user’s screen sizes vary greatly.


What is a Footer?

In many cases a separate file on a website that is automatically included at the bottom of every page and used for displaying standard links for privacy policies or sitemaps.


What are Google AdWords?

Google’s advertising division that sells ads (PPC) to appear on their search or content network.


What is Google Analytics?

Google Analytics (abbreviated GA) is a free service offered by Google that generates detailed statistics about the visitors to a website.

GA can track visitors from all referrers, including search engines, display advertising, pay-per-click networks, email marketing and digital collateral such as links within PDF documents.

GA uses a small snippet of Javascript code on each page of a website to deliver data back to Google for processing and delivery to the client within approximately one hour.

It must be installed by the client on their website.


What is Google Bowling?

This practice began when Google started penalizing sites that purchase site- wide text link ads to get lots of incoming links in a hurry.

Unscrupulous webmasters realized that this could be used against competitor sites by linking to them instead of their own site. Google claim they have measures in place to prevent this practice from unfairly damaging a site’s PageRank.


What is Google Panda?

Google Panada is an update to Google’s Algorithm that occurred around February 24th 2011.

The initial Panda update did in fact affect approximately 12% of the websites in Google, however the effects were much larger than Google has stated because most of the sites that were affected were websites that rank in the top pages of Google

Google have publicly stated that Panda is not the only significant update that they’ve been running and that there will be more than 500 tweaks to their algorithms throughout the year.


What is Google Sandbox?

The apparent dampening effect on a new site’s SERP, used to discourage spam sites setup solely to rank quickly using Black Hat techniques.


What is a Google Slap?

This is a term related to PPC in situations where Google determines that an advertiser is sending people who click their ad to a page that is not related, is poor in quality, or even loads too slowly.

Google Slap is the action they take to discourage this behavior and may result in advertisers having to pay a higher CPC as well as possibly reducing your PR.

To avoid the Google Slap advertisers need to work to achieve a high Quality Score.


What is Grey Hat SEO?

Grey hat are techniques that are not blatantly black hat but some people feel they are unethical SEO methods.


What is a Hyperlink?

A word or phrase on a web page that has been modified to allow a visitor to quickly jump, or link, to another web page or section of the same page.

The clickable text (also known as Anchor Text) uses special HTML code that tells it where it should send the clicker (the destination) and if it should open in a new window (the target).


What is an Inbound Linking?

Links to a site to improve its PageRank, generally sought from sites with a higher PageRank in an effort to gain link juice.

Also known as backlinks.


What is Indexed?

Getting indexed is when a website is processed by a search engine and begins to appear in their search results.

To know if a site has been indexed the site: parameter can be used e.g. site:www.mysite.com


What is an Internal Linking?

A link on a web page that links to another page (or a different part of the same page) on the same website (i.e. the same domain name).


What is a JV?

JV (Joint Ventures) are agreements between two businesses to work together for a common goal.


What is a Keyword?

Specific words that are considered to summarize a topic, and will most likely be used by internet searchers looking for information on this topic.


What is a Keyword Set Type?

Sets of keywords can be categorized by how broad or exact they are.

A broad set of keywords covers a lot of different aspects of a niche whereas a narrow, or exact, set is focused on just one aspect of a niche.


What is Link Cloaking?

Link cloaking or masking is the technique of hiding the true destination of a hyperlink.

This is done to improve CTR as visitors may feel more comfortable clicking on a friendly-looking link.

There are several ways to accomplish this including using Javascript to hide or change the destination that shows in the browser’s status bar, iframes or redirects.

It is generally viewed as black hat but this has been debated depending on it’s usage.


What is a Link Farm?

A directory website setup specifically for the purpose of creating outbound links to other sites to improve their ranking and, historically, indexing.

Nowadays link farming is generally viewed negatively and most search engines recommend webmasters acquire links from relevant sites and avoid link farms.


What is Link Juice?

PageRank can be passed from one site to another through links.

PageRank passing from one site to another or one page to another is referred to as link juice.


What are Links?

Inactive links are links that are not clickable whereas active links can be clicked.

Some article submission sites specify that some links must be inactive to be accepted.


What is Long Tail?

Long tail is used to describe keywords that are more ‘obscure’ and focus on smaller volumes, but more qualified, searches.

They are often targeted by affiliate marketers due to the lower competition for these words and phrases.


What is LSI?

LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) is based on the principle that words that are used in the same contexts tend to have similar meanings.

It is a mathematical calculation that can be used by search engines to determine the relevance of content to the keywords being searched on, in an attempt to reduce spam sites and allow search bots to view web pages in a more human way.


What is a Merchant?

A merchant is the actual seller of a product, offering affiliates a commission for any customers they refer.


What is a Redirect?

A page setup to redirect a visitor automatically to another page.

There are several methods of setting up a redirect and what you use depends on what you want to serve to the visitor and search engines.

A 301 Redirect is a permanent redirection that automatically sends a visitor to a new page. A search engine bot will ignore the content of the redirect page, indexing and ranking the new page (some link juice can is lost in this process).

A 302 Redirect is a temporary redirection that you can use for temporarily moved content.

A Meta-refresh Redirect is not strictly a redirect and should only be used if a 301 Redirect is not available.

It is a small line of code in the header of a page that tells the browser to refresh after a period of time (set to zero for an immediate refresh) and can include a new URL to display (the redirect).


What are Meta Tags?

Snippets of code that appear in the header of a web page to give instructions to search engine bots and browsers.

Examples include the title of a page, page description or if it should be indexed.


What are Mininets?

A mininet is a group of sites and resources that you use to promote affiliate offers or a primary site.


What is Monetize?

To optimize a web page to earn money or make a return on the investment that it has cost to build the page or website.


What is a Money Page?

The money page is a page on a website that is specifically designed to make a sale, or in some way monetize the visitor.


What are Money Sites?

A monetized website that is designed specifically to generate revenue.

There are varying degrees of monetization but sites that are predominantly commercial are referred to as money sites.


What are Product Rights?

Digital products (e.g. eBooks, articles etc.) are often sold with different rights that determine how the buyer can use the product.

PLR (Private Label Rights) allow the buyer to use the product any way they choose.

RR (Resell rights) allow you to resell the product to others.

MRR (Master Resale Rights) allow you to resell not only the product but also the rights to others to resell the product.


What are Negative Keywords?

Negative keywords are used in an AdWords campaign to prevent an ad from appearing when certain words or phrases are searched on.

The negative keyword “free trial” would prevent ads from showing on any search queries containing the terms free and trial.

It wouldn’t prevent your ads from showing on variations of these terms, however.

It also wouldn’t prevent your ads from showing on search queries that only contain one of the terms.


What is OCI?

OCI (Online Commercial Intent) is percentage rating of how likely a keyword phrase is used by someone looking to buy a product or service.


What are One Way Links?

An external link from one site to another that is not reciprocated.


What is External Linking?

A link on a web page that links to another website (i.e. a different domain name).


What is PageRank (PR)?

An arbitrary rank given to a website by Google based on what it determines to be site authority, which appears to be improved by a site’s age, traffic, inbound links from other authority sites and site quality.

PageRank can be passed on to other sites through linking (unless the nofollow tag is used) in a process known as passing link juice.


What is Pinging in SEO?

The practice of alerting a search engine of an update to a website, normally done automatically using a pinging service, with the aim of having a site indexed more frequently.

Technically, pinging is used to describe the attempt to confirm a connection between two computers. Ping is a network tool that sends packets to another IP address and waits for a reply. If there is no reply the connection is broken.


What is Podcasting?

Podcasts (derived from the words iPod and broadcast) refer to audio or video files being made available for syndication. Podcatching software (such as iTunes) can subscribe to a podcast and automatically download new episodes.


What is PPC?

PPC (Pay Per Click) describes an advertising program run where advertisers are charged only when their ad is clicked on.

An example of PPC is Google AdWords.


What is Quality Score?

Quality Score (also known as QS) is calculated by Google AdWords and looks at a variety of factors to measure how relevant a keyword is to the ad text, the landing page and to a user’s search query.

A high Quality Score means that a keyword will trigger ads in a higher position and at a lower cost-per-click (CPC).


What are Reciprocal Links?

Links between two sites where the link is reciprocated, i.e. both sites have outbound links to the other site.Reciprocal links are not weighted as much as one way links for PageRank purposes, which has led to the practice of 3 Way Links.


What is a Redirect?

A page setup to redirect a visitor automatically to another page.

There are several methods of setting up a redirect and what you use depends on what you want to serve to the visitor and search engines.


What are Redirect Links?

A redirect link is a link to a page that automatically forward links to another page using a redirect method.


What is ROI?

ROI (Return on Investment) is the amount of money earned (e.g. from a website) compared with the money spent on it.


What is RSS?

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is a method of publishing frequently updated works, such as blogs or news sites, in a standardized format. RSS readers are used to subscribe to an RSS feed.

Readers (or aggregators) automatically retrieve any new content for the users subscriptions, allowing all content to be viewed in one place.


What are Search and Content Networks?

The two different areas Google AdWords can appear.

The search network is Google’s search results and the content network is any website that is part of Google’s AdSense program.


What is SEO?

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the work done to improve, or optimize, a website to appear higher in the results page for chosen keywords.


What are SERP?

SERP stands for Search Engine Results Placement and describes where a website is listed on the results page.


What are Shadow Domains?

A domain setup that closely matches an existing domain to benefit from high traffic to the original site. For example, www.widgets2.com is a shadow site of www.widgets.com.


What is a Sitemap?

There are two different types of sitemaps.

One is an XML version designed specifically for search engines to make it easier for them to index a site and the other is a human-readable sitemap that is used by visitors who are having trouble locating information on a website.


What is SOC?

SOC (Strength Of Competition) is an approximate measure of how challenging a particular keyword is to rank well for.

It is a combination of different factors including the number of other sites trying to rank for a keyword, their PageRank


What is a Syndication?

Content syndication involves a partnership between content producers and distribution outlets.

It allows producers, such as article writers, to make their content available to a large number of websites (distribution outlets) increasing their potential readership and traffic to their site or click-throughs on any affiliate links in the article.


What is Targeted Traffic?

Targeted traffic is to websites what qualified sales leads are to salespeople.

These are people who deliberately visit a site through a link that determines a visitor’s needs before they click.

For example, a link that asks if they want to ‘stop their dog digging’ means that any visitors who click this link obviously have that problem and can be marketed to accordingly.


What is a Title Tag?

A title tag is an element found in the page header and used to name the page.

The title element defines a title in the browser toolbar and displays a title for the page in search-engine results.


What is Tracking?

Used for reporting purposes, tracking is the process of tagging a link or a visitor and following their actions.

For example, tracking can tell a webmaster if the visitor has clicked through to the merchant site and purchased a product.


What is Traffic?

The flow of visitors, or surfers, on the internet.

It is easier to understand this term when the internet is thought of as the information superhighway.


What is Video Marketing?

A marketing technique that uses video sharing sites like YouTube for promotional purposes.


What is a Webmaster?

The individual or group responsible for a website. In the case of affiliates this is usually the site owner.


What is White Hat SEO?

White hat SEO methods are generally approved by the search engines.

The term is used to contrast with black hat and grey hat.


What is an XML?

XML (Extensible Markup Language) is a general-purpose specification for creating custom markup languages.

It is different from HTML because it is extensible (X), or allows the user to define the mark-up elements.

It is used in different applications such as RSS feeds and search engine sitemaps.


What are 3 Way Links?

A popular practice to overcome the dampening affect of reciprocal links

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