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Say What?! Glossary of Internet Marketing Terms for Real Estate

February 25 2016

marketingMost agents are familiar with the acronyms and terms that are unique to the real estate industry. But what of the myriad, and often strange, terms common to the world of online marketing?

Marketing yourself and your listings online is one of the best things you can do for your business. After all, over 90 percent of consumers use the internet at some point in their home search, so it's critical that agents have at least some passing familiarity with the concepts of online marketing.

However, we know that because the internet's such a big and ever-changing place, it can be hard to keep up with everything. To take the confusion out of online marketing terms, we've rounded up a list of the most common and their meanings. Feel free to bookmark it or print it out so you can refer to it later!

  • A/B Testing - A method of fine-tuning content or design for email blasts, websites, landing pages and more for performance. By running two versions of the same piece of content, you can track the effectiveness of each version and use that data to decide what type of content/design to use going forward. You can learn more here.

  • AdWords - Google's advertising service that serves keyword targeted ads on its search engine and across participating websites. Many real estate professionals leverage AdWords to target consumers searching for homes in their area.

  • ALT Tag - Short for "alternative text," ALT tags describe what an image on your website it. Though its original purpose is to assist those who are visually impaired (or those who have turned off images in their browser), search engines love this text, too.

  • Analytics - Your website collects data about all of its visitors--what link they clicked to get to your site, their browser, computer operating system, and more. Analytics programs, like Google Analytics, interpret this data and grant website owners access to dynamic traffic reports so that they can better understand how their site is performing. Analytics capabilities are typically also available to those using email marketing, online ads, and more.

  • Anchor Text - When you add a link in your email, in a blog post, or on your website, the text that is hyperlinked is called "anchor text." The more relevant the anchor text is to the webpage it links to, the higher its SEO value. That's why a link that says Read this market report will always rank better than a simple Click here!

  • Bounce Rate - The percentage of visitors that leave your website after only viewing one page. A high bounce rate is a sign that your page isn't engaging and that something needs to change.

  • Call-to-Action (CTA) - No matter how well-designed your marketing piece, if it doesn't have a call-to-action, it's toothless. A CTA simply tells the viewer what you would like them to do. For agents, this may be contacting you for more information about a property, or for a free home valuation. If you're not sure what CTAs would work well for you, consider A/B testing a few.

  • Click-through Rate - This metric compares how many people saw your ad, versus how many actually clicked on it. If your click-through rate is low, it may be time to tweak your ad.

  • Conversion Rate - Clicking your ad is one thing, but how many people actually convert once they've clicked through to your website? That's what this statistics measures, based on what your goals are (like visitors registering for your site, signing up for your newsletter, etc.).

  • Cost Per Click (CPC) - This is a method of paying for online advertising (like AdWords or Facebook ads) based only on how many clicks your ad receives. Previously, the cost of an ad was based on how many times it was viewed. CPC makes cost performance based.

  • Cost Per Impression (CPM) - The alternative to CPC, the cost of this type of advertising is based on how many impressions, or views, it receives. The M in CPM stands for mille, the Latin word for "thousand."

  • Domain Name - This is your website's main address, e.g. When it comes to names, short and memorable is best. For real estate, integrating your area in your domain name works wonders for SEO. Learn more about choosing domain names.

  • Geotargeting - This technology lets you target ads only to people within a certain geographical area. This is great for your ad budget, as it lets you weed out people who are far away and would be less interested in your ad.

  • Header Tags - These HTML tags let you format your content in a hierarchical way that helps search engines understand its structure better. Header tags consist of tags from H1 to H6, with H1 typically the HTML tag for the title of the page, and H2 the largest subheading. H6 is the smallest subheading. Organize your content according to the hierarchy of these tags to make Google happy.

  • Impression - The number of times a page containing your ad is viewed.

  • Inbound Link - Links pointing to your site from other websites. If your Facebook profile, for example, has a link to your site, that's an inbound link for your website. Generally, the more inbound links your site has, the more it's viewed as a quality site by search engines and the higher it will rank.

  • Inbound Marketing - A method of attracting people to your business via valuable content like social media, whitepapers, blog posts, etc. Learn more here.

  • Keyword - A word or phrase that search engines hone in on to help find relevant content. "Real estate" is a keyword. So is "Miami Beach condos for sale." Include keywords on your website in in meta tags to be well-ranked in Google.

  • Keyword Density - How often a keyword or phrase appears on a webpage. Search engines typically like a density of 2-4 percent, which means that a keyword appears two to four times per 100 words.

  • Landing Page - A specialized webpage for people who click through from an ad, email, or other marketing piece. The content on these pages is narrowly focused and honed to drive conversion, typically through a contact form for leads.

  • Long Tail Keywords - This are niche keywords, as opposed to general ones. Though fewer people search for these keywords, the reduced competition and specific nature of the keywords generally results in higher conversion rates. "Austin, TX condo foreclosures" is a long tail keyword; "real estate" is not.

  • Marketing Automation - In real estate, marketing automation technology automatically creates promotional collateral based on listing data. This can include everything from property flyers to virtual tours and beyond. To see one marketing automation solution in action, watch this videowatch this video.

  • Meme - This is a viral image, video, or piece of text that rapidly spreads across the internet. Facebook, Reddit, and other social sites are huge spreaders of memes. You can see a bunch of fun real estate memesfun real estate memes here.

  • Meta Description - When your site appears in search engines results, the Meta Description is the short summary text that they see. This text is embedded into the header of every page on your site. While it doesn't affect your site's SEO, an unclear description is likely to repel web searchers rather than attract them.

  • Meta Tags - Who created your webpage, what is it about, and what are its main keywords? These are all questions that meta tags answer. Like the meta description, they don't impact your SEO but they do give search engines and consumers a clearer idea of what your site is about.

  • Open Rate - The number of people who opened an email blast or newsletter, divided by the number of people the email was sent to. According to Constant ContactAccording to Constant Contact, the real estate industry has an open rate just shy of 20 percent.

  • Opt-in - When people register for your website, do you offer them an option to sign-up for your newsletter or for automated listing alerts? That's called "opting in" because the consumer is consciously choosing to receive communication from you. The flip side, opt-out, automatically subscribes people to your content. If they don't want to receive your content, they have to unsubscribe, or opt out.

  • Pageview - A metric that measures each time a page of your site is completely loaded and viewed by a visitor, including page reloads.

  • Pay Per Click (PPC) - Advertising like Facebook or AdWords is often referred to as PPC advertising because the advertiser pays based only on the clicks an ad receives.

  • Responsive Web Design - This is a method of creating websites so that its design automatically adjusts to the screen size of the device it's viewed on. This approach to design makes websites mobile friendly--crucial now that Google is penalizing non-mobile friendly sites.

  • Retargeting - You know those ads that seem to follow you around the web? They rely on a technology called ad retargeting that's based on behavioral clues you give off as you search online. AdWerx is one company that offers this technology to real estate agents.

  • Robots.txt - In internet parlance, a "robot" is a search engine program that crawls the web to index pages. Robots.txt is a file that your website uses to tell robots what pages they can index, and what they can't.

  • RSS - Short for "Really Simple Syndication," RSS is a way to be notified of new blog posts or articles on a site without having to visit that site to check. RSS "feeds" are read in a feed reader like Feedly.

  • Scraping - The practice of stealing content from one website and using it on another. In real estate, plenty of controversy has centered around the scraping of listing data from legitimate sources and its reuse on third party sites.

  • SEO - Search Engine Optimization, or paying mindful attention to all the elements that contribute to a site ranking well in search engines. This includes inbound links, keyword density, proper formatting of content, a mobile friendly layout, and more.

  • Social Signals - Speaking of SEO, search engines take "social signals" into account when deciding how to rank a site. The more likes, shares, retweets, etc. that your website receives, the higher it will rank.

  • Spider - Another term for the "robots" or "crawlers" that index website pages for search engines.

  • Stickiness - A site is "sticky" when people repeatedly return to it. This may be because of good and continuously updated content, strong property search options, and more.

  • URL - Short for "Uniform Resource Locator," this is just an abbreviated way to say "the address of a specific webpage," e.g.

  • Webinar - An online seminar (web + seminar) that people can attend via their computer. These typically offer both audio and video, and even the ability to ask questions and take live polls. They're a great way to learn about technology. To see a list of real estate webinars, visit our Webinars page.

While this is by no means an exhaustive list of terms, it covers the major basics. Did we miss a term that you'd like to know more about? Let us know in the comments below, and we'll add it and its definition to the list above!