Common Marketing Terms

A company that maintains and supplies the underlying business database for local search directories. The most important U.S. aggregators are Infogroup, Localeze, Acxiom, and Factual. These companies compile data about businesses from multiple online and offline sources including phone bills, business registration records, chamber of commerce membership rosters, and many other sources. An aggregator is also known as a “data aggregator” or “data provider.”
A special formula used by search engines to rank webpages in order of importance or relevance for a particular keyword search.
Any tool or program that tracks user behavior, such as traffic to a website, duration of visits, and conversions. Google Analytics is a popular product. Within the Google My Business dashboard, the latest iteration of analytics data is called Insights.
In local SEO, the term “audit” if often used to describe a thorough analysis of an aspect of a company’s marketing. This could include a citation audit, a content audit, or a competitive audit.
A general term used to describe the influential power of a domain, a website, a citation source, a review, or other entities. Search engines are said to view some resources as being more authoritative than others, meaning that authoritative sources have an enhanced ability to influence rankings.
below the fold

Content and headlines printed on the bottom half of a newspaper are not visible when the paper is folded and sitting in a rack.  Newspaper editors know they need the best articles and headlines in the top half of the front page to sell more newspapers to nonsubscribers.

In today’s digital world we use the term to describe content that the user needs to scroll down the page to find.

In the local search arena, the term brick-and-mortar is used to indicate a business model operating within a physical building. Examples of brick-and-mortar business models include dental clinics, restaurants, and retail shops. By contrast, a service area business is one that serves customers at remote locations (like a plumber, electrician, or housekeeping service) instead of within the walls of a physical business. Different rules have historically governed these two types of business models in the local search arena.
business description
Sometimes simply called “description.” Describes a field provided for a text description of a business on a local business listing. Length and rules about the types of content one can include in the business description field vary from platform to platform.
call tracking number
A phone number used to measure the success of specific marketing efforts and to determine the source of leads. For local businesses, call tracking numbers must be implemented carefully to ensure they don’t cloud the clarity of the company’s basic business data, thereby harming its ability to rank well. Good solutions for safe call tracking now exist.
A term used to describe a system of industry classification. In creating local business listings, companies are prompted to categorize themselves as being associated with a specific industry (e.g. dentist, HVAC, Italian restaurant). Although each search engine and data aggregator has its own taxonomy, many categories are based on the North American Industry Classification System, or NAICS. The current Google My Business dashboard allows business owners to choose up to ten categories, all of which must stem from Google’s pre-chosen category choices. Proper category choices are essential to Google’s local rankings.
A complete or partial web-based reference to a business’s name, address, phone number and other core data. Structured citations can occur in the form of formal local business listings on local business data platforms, or can be of an unstructured nature, occurring as simple mentions of a business on a blog, news site, website, or other online publication.
click-through rate (CTR)
The rate at which users click on an advertisement, link, or other search engine result. CTR is one metric used for measuring the success of online campaigns. In the case of local businesses, it’s hypothesized that specific types of clicks on Google My Business listings can positively impact rank. These would include clicks-to-call, clicks-to-website, and clicks-for-driving-directions.
The process of convincing a website visitor to call, email, or visit a business offline—i.e., convert to a customer, or the process of successfully bring a potential customer to and through the point of a transaction.
driving directions
It is speculated that requests for driving directions on applications like Google Maps count as user behavior, and may indicate the popularity of a local business and thus, have some effect on rankings.
duplicate listing
A problematic scenario in which more than one listing exists on a given platform for a single entity. In particular, Google allows only one listing per location, and intentional or accidental violation of this policy can lead to penalties and ranking issues. Steps must be taken to resolve duplicate listing issues.
An adjective describing a piece of text content or other media content tagged with geographic attributes.
Google Business Photos
Interior photography of local businesses taken by Google Trusted Photographers. This photography can be turned into a virtual tour intended to enhance local business data.
Google Messages
In local search, a function of the Google My Business dashboard which enables business owners to text message with their customers.
Google My Business
The current branding of Google’s local product. Business owners use the tool manage how their business appears in Google Search and on Google Maps. A small sample of data that can be updated includes your business hours, description, phone number, and website.
Google Posts
A function of the Google My Business dashboard enabling a business owner to instantly post micro-blog-style content to their Knowledge Panel.
Google Questions and Answers
A function allowing local businesses to post FAQs to their Google My Business dashboard generating a display of this information on a limited number of platforms. Also allows the public to ask questions directly of the business and receive answers.
Branding of the analytics component of the Google My Business dashboard.  Business owners can see how many times their business appeared on Google Search and Google Maps.  Google also shares how many users went to your website, called your business, viewed your photos, and messaged you if that feature is turned on.
local SEO (local search engine optimization)
Specialized online marketing that increases visibility for businesses interested in ranking for geographically-related keywords. A large component of local SEO is ranking well in the local algorithms. It is also important to rank well in the organic results for local keywords.
NAP / NAP+W (Name Address Phone + Website)
The “thumbprint” of a business online. Local search engines use NAP information found by crawling the web or received from data providers to judge the accuracy of the data in their own indexes. Consistent NAP information is essential to getting more citations and improving search engine rankings and is critical to local customer acquisition.
owner response
The practice of responding to a consumer review as the owner of a business. Most of the top review platforms support owner responses, facilitating a vital form of reputation management.
The distance between two points. In local search, proximity may describe the distance of a user to a business, of one business to another business in the same industry, or a business to the geographic center of a city.
The degree to which a certain business or certain website matches the intent of a searcher’s keyword. In local search, a particular business must be considered by the search engines to be relevant for a particular keyword in order to rank for that term—but typically cannot rank for terms for which it is not considered relevant. For instance, a popular restaurant may rank first in local results for “restaurants” or “fine dining,” but would not necessarily be considered relevant for search terms like “bars” or “pubs”—even though they are related terms.
A customer’s text summary of their experience at a particular business. Reviews can be left on search engines, via location-based services, apps, or websites — and are often simultaneously assigned numerical ratings. Google-based reviews are believed to impact Google’s local rankings.
review management
The practice of encouraging and responding to consumer reviews.
SEM (search engine marketing)
An umbrella term for improving the online presence of a business via a variety of techniques. In local search, SEM can include everything from citation management, to content development, link building, review management, and more.
SEO (search engine optimization)
Improving the presence of a business and increasing its number of customers via all non-paid forms of search, such as organic, local, and mobile.
SMB (small-to-medium business)
In the United States, designation as a small business is defined by the size standards found in Title 13 of the Code of Federal Regulations. In the online marketing world, SMB is loosely used to describe both small and local businesses.
Street View
An application within Google Maps which provides 360-degree photographic imagery of an area specified by the user.
three-pack (3-Pack)
Currently Google’s dominant form of local search results, consisting of three businesses.