Affiliate Marketing & Programs

Affiliate Marketing Glossary

PPC, ROI, WTF, the terms and jargon used in affiliate marketing can be mindboggling at times. It seems that each day, we’re given a new term for the work we do. How does one make sense of it all?

There’s a laundry list of affiliate marketing terms (found here and there) but the bigger question is “which are important?” This is the question we’ll be answering in this article.

The Affiliate Marketing Glossary (Only the Essentials)

We’re not going to bother with the minutia and tech jargon; here are the terms that should be in your affiliate marketing vocabulary:

A/B (Split) Testing – The process of testing two separate elements of a website with the purpose of improving conversions and optimization.

Affiliate – Any individual that acts as a salesperson for a company or a product.

Affiliate Marketing – The process of selling other people’s products in exchange for a commission; generally done with affiliate programs to aid sales tracking and through websites, email marketing, and other strategies that send leads to the sales page.

Affiliate Program – A collection of tools and resources for finding and promoting affiliate products.

Above the Fold – The area of your screen before scrolling; this is the prime real estate for getting your marketing message noticed.

Analytics – Detailed reports and measurements of a website and campaigns using software and tools.

Anchor Text – The text used as a link to another page.

Article Marketing – Using articles to get website traffic; generally done through guest posting or submitting articles to article directories like EZineArticles or GoArticles.

Autoresponder – An email service and general term used for sequential emails sent to list subscribers; hence: the automatic response.

Backlinks – Anchor links back to your website; often used in referencing SEO and gaining higher search engine results.

Black Hat – Unethical practices such as spam, shaving commissions, or just trying to “game” the system when it comes to marketing online.

Bounce Rate – The measurement of how many people leave your website or page.

Brand/Branding – The perceived idea behind your business/company; the process of building a better image.

Brand Ambassadors – Individuals that are enthralled with your brand and market your services without any personal gain aka. People that love your products or services.

Bum Marketing – A fun, play on the process of marketing your website or affiliate links through cheap methods that don’t require a lot of work or monetary investment such as article marketing or forum posting.

Contextual Link – A link within the context of your content – placing a link around what you’re talking about rather than calling it out with buttons or call-outs.

Cloaking – Using a third party tool to hide the destination address of an affiliate link or masking the page using an iFrame; helpful in affiliate marketing to avoid people stealing commissions.

Call-to-Action – Website copy and design that’s made to convert visitors such as an opt in box, social media button, or a simple line of text that asks for people to comment on a blog.

CMSContent Management System –A dynamic platform for building websites that allow you to easily update and edit the entire website within a dashboard and without web development skills.

Content – Really, any form of media you’re sharing online whether it’s a blog post, video, podcast, or graphics.

Content Marketing – The use of online content to market your website and gain greater exposure in social networks and search engines.

Conversions/Conversion Rate – The measurement and idea of converting visitors into customers or subscribers. Example: If 100 visitors all bought an item from your store – your conversion rate would be 100%.

Commission – What you earn when selling an affiliate product or service – your cut of the revenue.

Copywriting – Writing with the intent to sell a product, service or used to improve a call-to-action.

CPA – Cost Per Action – The cost you can pay (or earn) when someone completes a task such as imputing an email address, submitting zip code information, and any other form of information that businesses and companies are willing to pay for in their research.

CPC – Cost Per Click – The cost you will pay (or earn) whenever someone clicks on an ad.

CPM – Cost Per Mille (1,000) – A measurement of how much you’ll pay (or earn) for 1,000 impressions in advertising.

CTRClick Through Rate – The result of measuring the amount of impressions divided by the actual engagement aka: how many people clicked vs. only viewed the copy.

CRM – Customer Relationship Management – A term used for specialized software and services that aid companies in keeping in touch with their customer base.

DoFollow – A term to represent when a link shares PageRank to the destination page.

Domain Name – The name of a website; its URL.

Duplicate Content – A highly debated item in affiliate marketing – duplicate content is content that has been posted multiple times within the same domain.

Ebook – An electronic book.

External Linking/Linkbuilding – Building backlinks on websites with the purpose of increasing your website ranking in search engines.

Grey Hat – Individuals that employ a mixture of White and Black Hat techniques for SEO and online marketing.

Heat Map – A tool to see a visual representation of where visitors focus on your web pages.

Internal Linking – Adding links within your own website to point to deeper pages on the same domain.

Joint Venture – Working together with another affiliate marketer or business owner to improve your affiliate marketing campaigns.

Keyword – A word that is the main focus of a website, link, campaign, etc. The keyword is generally the name of a product, service, or term used for finding information online.

Keyword Density – Although becoming outdated, this is the measurement of how many of your keywords fill your content. The perceived “ideal” keyword density for content is around 3 – 5% of your total words.

Landing Page – The destination page for your visitor; can be anything from a single page with offers or a thank you page after a sign up. In essence, where people “land” on your website.

Link – A link to an inner/outer page or website; also loosely used when referencing SEO i.e. “you need a lot of links to get better rankings”. Essentially, a “thumbs up” for your website when linked to.

Link Bait – Content/headlines/hooks that entices people to click through and visit your website.

List – I.E. List building, list management, etc – The database of your followers; generally mentioned when talking about email marketing.

Long Tail Keywords/Search – A precise use of keywords when finding content. For example “books” vs. “where to find books” is an example of long tail keywords.

Money Page – A reference to a page on a website that is converting sales.

Niche – A small, segmented group from within a larger network. For example, ‘fiction books’ is a niche category under ‘books’.

NoFollow – A term used when a link does not share Page Rank with the destination page.

Opt-In – The process of someone signing up to a subscription service by sharing their information such as their email address or phone number.

Opt-Out – The process of someone signing off your subscription and/or list.

Permission Marketing – Marketing done when individuals give permission for a company or business to send them marketing messages.

Page Rank – Google’s “ranking” of a website to determine its value; the higher the rank = greater chances of ranking well in search engines.

PLR – Private Label RightsContent created and sold to individuals as white label which gives the owner the ability to republish as their own but without the ability to resell the content.

Podcasts – An online radio show or program.

Pop-Up – A new window that appears on top of a web page (for marketing/advertising purposes).

Pop-Under – A new windows that appears ‘under’ a web page (for marketing/advertising purposes).

Reciprocal Links – Trading links with another website owner to improve search rankings.

Redirect – A method of redirecting visitors from one page to another; often used in 301 redirects to tell search engines that a page has moved.

Referral(s) – The people (or process) of referring people to a product or service.

Reseller Rights – Content, programs, software, and more that you can purchase, white label, and resell as your own.

RSS – Really Simple Syndication – A method of content delivery using a specialized RSS reader or program.

ROI – Return on Investment – The amount of money/effort you put in vs. how much you get back.

Sandboxed – The unfortunate event of having a website de-indexed or listed from search engines (usually the result of an error or malicious activity).

Scraping – Unethically “lifting” content from online sources in hopes of gaining search traffic and content for a website.

SEMSearch Engine Marketing – The blanket term for those that generally do online marketing.

SEOSearch Engine Optimization – a collection of strategies and methods to improve a website’s search engine ranking.

SERP – Search Engine Results Page – The page in which a website is ranking for a particular keyword.

Social Commerce – The new idea that online shopping is heavily influenced from social media.

Social Bookmarking – The act of submitting content to websites like Digg, Reddit, and other aggregation websites.

SPAM – Any unwanted information sent to recipients such as spam email, blog comment spam, and so on.

Traffic – A term and measurement for people that visit your website or landing page.

Video Marketing – The process of using video to market your business or affiliate marketing campaign.

Viral Marketing – The explosive sharing and distribution of content across social networks and websites.

Widget – A small application or area of a website that houses condensed information such as a blogroll or author bio (generally in the sidebar).

White Hat – The ethical approach to marketing online where rules are respected and information is transparent to its users and clients.

WYSIWYG – A term for “what you see is what you get”; generally mentioned when talking about the blog post editor in WordPress but can also be for visual website builders and other programs that let you drag and drop vs. strictly code.

What do you think should be included in our list of essential affiliate marketing terms?

7 Responses to Affiliate Marketing Glossary

  1. Sheldon June 13, 2012 at 6:28 am

    PLease answer these questions for me
    1- Give me the url’s of some excellent publisher websites ?
    2- Whats the best way to handle the construction of an affiliate/shopping section of a website that’s under development ?
    3- Which affiliates/merchants get the most business from their affiliate marketing ?
    4 – Can I join several networks i.e commission junction etc. and select specific affiliates from each. plus my own, in order to make my “shopping” section?


    • Michaela June 20, 2012 at 3:24 pm

      Hi Sheldon,

      We will be taking each of your questions listed here and writing separate articles to address and answer your questions for each one. Please follow over the next few weeks as we write more in-depth content on these points.

      Thank you.


  2. Jenny June 26, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    Great list, guys! You nailed it, as always :)

    • Michaela June 27, 2012 at 1:16 pm

      Thank you!

  3. Jenny June 27, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    Oh, yeah, and just today I came across something that had me scratch my head for a minute. They were talking about Affiliate Programs that might accept CL Traffic and it took me some time and more reading to understand that they were talking about Craigslist.
    Go figure :)

    • Michaela June 27, 2012 at 1:23 pm

      Yes, that would have me scratching my head too! Thanks for the feedback! We always welcome your comments!

  4. shirley Collins September 16, 2012 at 11:04 pm


    just tried to register for your forum newbies today but it said admin has removed it?

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