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Know the Lingo: 11 Key Content Marketing Terms

Are you ready to improve your ROI with optimized SEO built on productive alt-tags, backlinks, and dynamic content? Did your eyes glaze over halfway through that sentence? Don’t worry. As with any industry, marketing experts rely on jargon and shoptalk to quickly communicate ideas and concepts that would otherwise take paragraphs to explain. Fortunately, we have paragraphs to spare. With these common content marketing terms under your belt, you’ll be prepared to more effectively participate in the content marketing industry.


Image via Flickr by BitsFromBytes

As the Google algorithm combs through websites and awards rankings, it looks for absolutely anything that optimizes the user experience. One thing that the Google algorithm awards is alt-tags, short for “alternative tags,” which are short text descriptions of an image on your webpage. Alt-tags make it easier for search engines to find images, since your alt-tag may contain keywords that users will search, but certain tools can also use alt-tags to audibly describe images to the visually impaired.


You don’t have the time or resources to manually sift through all the data available on the internet that can inform your content marketing decisions. Analytics, in a general sense, is the analysis of data to obtain information. Often, analytics involve algorithms and artificial intelligences that provide statistics and data about your audience and even your competition. Content marketers most often use analytics tools to gain insight on how their websites and content pieces are performing.


It’s helpful to put links in your content in order to point your readers to additional useful information. Backlinks, however, are a little different and are more useful for your marketing efforts. Backlinks, otherwise known as inbound or incoming links, are links posted on other websites that point back to your website. Backlinks illustrate the utility and efficiency of your content since others are linking to it, and therefore they improve your website’s search engine ranking.

Buyer Persona

Marketing is all about people. An effective campaign is directed to that one ideal individual, the 22-year-old college student on a budget or the comfortably retired 72-year-old looking for a way to spend their time.¬†Buyer personas are fictionalized representations of your target audience that describe your target’s problems, needs, interests, values, demographics, and so on. Writing content with a buyer persona in mind keeps content focused and effective.

Clickthrough Rate

Of course, it’s great when readers skim your content, but what you really want is for them to engage with your work. Clickthrough rate (CTR) is a metric that measures whether readers are doing that. A “clickthrough” involves someone reading through your piece and then clicking on the call to action link at the end, or clicking on a link that leads to your website’s product page. Clickthrough rate data provides insight as to what types of content are most effectively engaging your audience.


Ideally, your content answers your audience’s questions and inspires them to take the next step forward with your business. A CTA, short for “call to action,” invites your audience to do something. Maybe you place a CTA at the end of an article on disaster preparedness that invites the reader to check out the various backup generators that you have for sale. A CTA may also invite your audience to join an email list, follow you on social media, go to another page on your website, and so on. Most of your content should somehow invite your audience to take action.

Dynamic Content

Dynamic content, which is content that adjusts to the user visiting the website, is the key to a personalized experience for your audience. Just like Amazon and Facebook deliver ads to you based on previous purchase and viewing decisions you’ve made on their sites, you can use dynamic content to provide members of your audience with items, services, and content similar to what they’ve engaged with before. You can even adjust content CTAs to make them more dynamic.


An influencer is a popular or influential individual in a specific area, usually with ample connections and significant expertise. You may be the funniest one in the office, but that doesn’t mean your best joke will become a viral social media post. While most of us lack the skills and follower base to make a significant impact on social media, influencers have what you need. Whether they share one of your webpages to their three million followers or place a quote on your advertisement, influencers help you get the reach you wouldn’t attain on your own.


Keywords are the words and phrases that users type into a search engine. Keywords are central to content marketing since marketers want to tailor their content to make it easier to find. Including keywords in your content may make your webpage appear on Google quickly, but be careful. “Keyword stuffing,” which is forcing as many keywords as possible into content, will often land you a lower search engine ranking since the attempt leaves your writing awkward and even confusing.

To find the right balance, content marketers often measure “keyword density” in their content to find the number of keywords relative to the total word count.


ROI stands for “return on investment.” This is a term of the business world and it refers to the profit you make thanks to an investment of time, money, and resources. Ideally, you want a high return for a low investment, which means you’re looking to improve your ROI by increasing efficiency, exploring better marketing methods, and so on.


SEO, which stands for “search engine optimization,” is a central aspect of content marketing today. If consumers are going to happen upon your website without otherwise being directed there, it’s likely that your site popped up in their Google results. Many factors go into improving your search engine results, from effectively integrating keywords, to including images and videos with alt-tags, to optimizing your webpage for strong performance on mobile devices.

While lingo can sometimes be a frustrating barrier to understanding, knowing content marketing terms will allow you to more effectively navigate and participate in the industry. Now go show everyone how much you know.

About the author

Michael Walton

Michael Walton is a freelance writer, editor, and novelist dedicated to delivering engaging content that satisfies readers' needs and leaves them wanting more. When he's not writing content, you may find him writing novels, writing about writing, reading, or hiking in the beautiful Rocky Mountains.