sem and seo analyticsThe basic strategies in the world of search engine marketing (SEM) are straightforward, but it’s easy for those new to the idea to get lost in a forest of acronyms.

For those who run a website, they are terms that should become familiar. SEM, which encompasses pay-per-click (PPC) advertising and search engine optimization (SEO), is important to achieving success by driving larger amounts of traffic to your website.

You can read more about other SEM and SEO analytics acronyms in a recent blog post we wrote. That post details acronyms such as CMS, CRM, and GA.

The following terms apply to digital marketing metrics and the methods for measuring them.


Search Engine Results Pages. This refers to the links that come up when you search for certain phrases or words on Google or Bing. The results are based on a wide variety of factors, including quality and relevance of the content. The details of the search engines’ algorithms used to rank results are largely secret, so that sites cannot game the system.

Two ways to increase your chances of showing up on the first SERP is through PPC and SEO. PPC requires money, but can provide instant leads. SEO takes time, but can bring in large amounts of traffic without needing a budget.  This post can help you increase your SEO rankings by suggesting ways to maximize the SEO value of your content.


Cost Per Click. This is associated with PPC marketing campaigns, which involving placing advertisements online. Typically, a PPC ad appears on SERPs because a search query contained a keyword that an advertiser is bidding on. The CPC measures the dollar amount that an advertiser is spending every time someone clicks on their ad. The CPC, along with the daily budget and other factors, determines how many clicks (visitors) can be sent to a website in a given day.


Click Through Rate. This measures the percentage of users who were presented with a specific link, say from an ad or inside an email, vs. the number of people who clicked on it. A CTR is used to measure success in a variety of marketing campaigns, including SEM, SEO, PPC, and targeted email campaigns.

For example, in PPC, impressions measure the number of times an ad showed up in a SERP and was “seen.” The ratio of those views vs. those that clicked on the ad is your CTR.  A higher CTR means more people that saw your ad clicked on it, which helps measure the success of the ad in relation to the people it was presented to.


Key Performance Indicators. These are key points of data needed to measure the effectiveness of digital marketing efforts. Thanks to Google Analytics, almost every activity involved in digital marketing can be tracked. Some of the key KPI for a website include:

  • Number of visitors per month
  • Conversion rates
  • Number of leads generated by marketing channel
  • Cost-per-lead generates

This post does a great job of outlining which website data analytics to set as your KPIs, along with other indicators to measure success at different stages of your marketing and sales funnel.

These are some of the key acronyms to learn from the world of SEM and SEO analytics. Hiring a full-service marketing agency with expertise in these areas can lead to a better success as a web-based business – and prepare you for growth in the future.

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