Gobbledygook != Simplicity

We are often asked questions about website terminology and it becomes evermore apparent that us developers can be seen to be living in our own world with our own language - guilty.as.charged - if our website has thrown anything in your direction that leaves you wondering what on earth we might be talking about, here is our help section for website jargon!


PPC refers to Pay Per Click and is a term used when referring to paid adverting through Google or Bing. Paid advertising can be seen at the top of a search page when searching for things in a browser like Chrome, Firefox, Safari or Edge.


SEO is short for Search Engine Optimisation - this is the name for getting a website's data lined up perfectly in a way that helps Google or Bing recognise the content as a good fit for what a person might be searching for online.


A server is a physical machine that stores all of a website's data, a bit like your computer might store your own files. Websites are built from written pages that a browser will ask the server for so it can show the user the website content in a fashion that can be understood.


Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera, Edge and on some machines still, Internet Explorer are all browsers. These allow us to visit websites and perform web-based tasks that require a direct connection to a server where web data is stored.


This relates to a website's design structure - specifically the layout design. Responsive design allows the website content to automatically reorganise itself to any screen size so that the user has a fluid and uninterrupted experience.


So, servers host the website files, this is hosting, just like a bookshelf 'holds' the books it keeps, a server 'hosts' the files needed by browsers to render a website to look like something we humans can read.


The skills required to build websites and manage servers, even implement solid SEO are quite extensive, and with those skills expanding daily the general term for a person who comprises them is a Developer.


If a browser were to fetch the website files and leave them for the user to comb through, there wouldn't be much of an experience to be had, therefore the browser needs to render, build, put together all of the information first.

Digital Marketing

Taking all forms of website marketing into one phrase, digital marketing. This accounts for SEO, SMO, PPC and targeted advertising.


Social Media Optimisation: essentially putting together the online representation of an entity in such a way that it performs in the best way possible and reaches as wide an audience as possible to better represent the brand as a whole.


A website that can list goods or services and take online payment for them. Many examples exist, eBay is a contentious one here as the transaction takes place outside of the product-listing website: discuss!

Payment Gateway

These are set up inside the inner workings of e-commerce websites so that a user can safely enter their payment details on the website and complete an online transaction, payment gateways are secure environments when built securely.


Secure Sockets Layer: allows a website to be reached via the https URL rather than the non-certificated http URL. An SSL applies an additional level of security for data entered into fields on the website in question, also prompting improved SERPs and a higher user-trust rating.


Search Engine Ranking Position: we take the SERP as an indicator of website performance for a given search term - a website showing at #10 has a lower SERP than a website showing at #5 on a list of generated search results.


Uniform Resource Locator is the unique address for a web page on the world wide web. Typing a URL into a browser's address field will direct the browser to request and render the subsequent website/page information from the server.


A finite and well-defined set of rules that, in our case, relates to how Google decides what your website's SERP will be for any given search term or phrase.


A field is a place on a browser or website page that can be written into using the keyboard.

Search Term

This is the written word that you might use in a browser to search for something, for example kittens.

Search Phrase

The words used to define the user's search completely, for example kittens playing

Broad / Exact

Broad and exact relate to search phrase matching. A broad match for kittens playing would also include cats playing, an exact match would not.


This symbol is known in C++ (a coding language used primarily for programming) as a reference to does not equal or not equal to; as we have used it in our title above we owed it to you to include in our gobbledygook-ictionary.


We use this term to refer to your website's position on a returned list of search results after a user searches for a term - i.e you may rank 4th for the search term trainers and this may be important given the same search last week ranked you at 11th.


It's a bit like a spreadsheet: this is a series of spreadsheets that your website pulls information from to render the content to a user via browser. Your website can also write data to its database when users fill out forms and complete other tasks on the site.

Web Files

The documents your website is built from, such as a stylesheet or a page's text content are a small part of the documents that are used by a browser when rendering your website for use and easy readability.


A website's address is referred to as the domain: website.com for example is the domain and the website or other online services may be reached by visiting that address using a browser or an app. Additional addresses may be created from a single domain via sub-domains.


This is the ending of a domain. The typical UK telnet is .co.uk, in the USA it is more commonly .com. Until recently the national telnet was the only real option, today however many telnets are available including .shop, .salon, .reviews and so on.


All URLs are predefined by the sub-domain, the usual being www. - many subdomains can exist: an online marketplace may use www.shop.com as its brochure website and buy.shop.com as its e-commerce platform. Education centres tend to utilise staff.school.com for staff access & management interfaces.

Did we miss anything?

Let us know what other terminology is baffling you and we will clear it up, maybe add it to our page as well!