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Dictionary's pages not enough focused

 9:46 pm on Sep 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

On one of my websites a small "handmade" dictionary is integrated. The rankings of almost all its pages dropped. I guess one reason could be the fact that one every page up to five terms are explained. Each comprehends one or two paragraphs. I suppose the pages are not focused enough topically on one or two terms.

Giving all terms their own page would be a great effort and the content of each page would be very "thin" (one or two paragraphs).

So what can I do? In title tag, description and headings ignoring all terms except one? That would mean wasting content, though most pages have only two important KW-terms.



 9:31 am on Sep 16, 2013 (gmt 0)

If I understood well, you have a dictionary pages explaining some terms that are connected with the subject of your website. It is up to five terms on each dictionary page and (from what I am reading), the page used to rank for all these terms, but now is not ranking.

How are these terms grouped on a page - is it alphabetically or connected by subject? How many of these dictionary pages do you have at the moment and how many there would be if you have one page for each term?

Why don't you do a test: take ONE of these dictionary pages and split that one page in as many pages as terms on that page. Then watch what happens with traffic and ranking for these and make your decision based on this.


 6:58 pm on Sep 16, 2013 (gmt 0)

Yes, you understood right so far.

Terms are grouped alphabetically. At the moment there are about 50 pages. It's an old site without CMS and especially changing the navi would be a lot of work.

The best way obviously would be to give every term its own page and expand the content on every page, I guess?


 8:20 pm on Sep 16, 2013 (gmt 0)

One thing to consider: If every term or word has its own page, the searcher may learn everything he or she needs to know from Google's snippet.

High search rankings won't do much good if they don't drive traffic to your site.


 12:11 am on Sep 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

On one of my websites a small "handmade" dictionary is integrated.

The word "integrated" makes it look to me like you have other pages on the site that reference the "dictionary" pages -- If this is correct, rather than putting the terms and definitions on their own page(s) and linking to those I would consider putting the definitions directly on the page(s) using the terms either at the bottom of the page and linking to them with a fragment identifier or keeping them "hidden" on an initial load and displaying them in a "floating div" on a click via javascript.


 10:58 am on Sep 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

With own pages I would have to expand the content, because thin pages won't help me in terms of Panda. Let's say "some" paragraphs, at least 10 sentences in total.

Snippets are not so big, aren't they?

Yes, correct...
Interesting idea, but each page has its own ranking chance and each page has some internal links to other main pages. Two good reasons for own pages.
But may be both would be a good idea? A small definition on the pages where the terms are used AND their own pages?
Google doesn't like hidden text. Even if it is not manipulating (KW stuffing ect.) and Google does not penalize, hidden text will be discounted.


 12:52 pm on Sep 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

Dictionary definitions are usually short, thin, and easily found directly on Google. If you want to put them on their own page, as a surfer I'd like to see supporting content. For example, pictures, if relevant, a few links to related pages that reference the word, and maybe some further information on the page itself. In other words, you could turn the definition into a category page in its own right.

I don't think the reason your rankings have dropped is because the definition content is inherently thin or useless, so much as the fact that it's already out there in other dictionaries, and Google only wants to display a handful of definitions. So it's duplicate content, even if it isn't literally the duplicate of other versions.


 2:34 pm on Sep 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

While you describe this as a dictionary, to me it sounds more like a glossary of common terms.

Personally, I would think about putting EVERYTHING on one page and just calling it a glossary.

I would have anchor links to the various alphabetical areas at the top of the page and then Back To Top link at the end of the section for each letter of the alphabet.

So at the end of the A section, have a link that says Back To Top, and at the end of the B section, again have a link to Back To Top, etc.,

Anyway, that is just what I would do, and I kind of think as a user I would like that better, too.

Robert Charlton

 5:35 pm on Sep 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

a small "handmade" dictionary is integrated.

What's the size of this dictionary?

Offhand, I'm guessing that the content is duplicated on many other sites, and that is the issue. Note that Google may simply just consider this as "data" (distinct from "content")... and pages that were essentially data-only were hit way back by Mayday.

Unless this dictionary is very large, I agree with Planet13 that if it is a glossary of common terms, you should put everything on one page. I ask about the size, though, because it's not clear that it's large enough to need the alphabetical anchors.

Also, how are you linking to this glossary? If you had articles about each of the terms, then I'd keep them separate and link to them from other articles as footnotes. Many major newspapers use this type of arrangement.

For technical terms on a site, conceivably a single glossary page, with contextual links (from other articles, with anchors leading to individual definitions) might be of use to your users. If you're thinking of these as "important KW-terms", though, your priorities are already such that they'll get you in trouble.

With regard to contextual links... and this may be slightly off-topic, but worth mentioning here... I suggest that you be very careful about (over)using exact match contextual linking just to boost rankings. Many sites I've seen that use contextual links would be better off simply with menus. If it's a small glossary, you might be better off simply with a global "glossary" link, and not try to milk it.


 6:13 pm on Sep 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

"If you're thinking of these as "important KW-terms", though, your priorities are already such that they'll get you in trouble."



 10:06 pm on Sep 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

"If you're thinking of these as "important KW-terms", though, your priorities are already such that they'll get you in trouble."

There are about 50 pages, 3 - 5 terms on each page and usually ONE term per page is an "important WW term". So there is one internal link on each page to a main page (and some further ones between dictionary pages).
Why troubles?

Overusing of contextual internal links? Due to Matt Cutts INTERNAL links with KW-anchors are not easy to overuse.

One big glossary page?
But that would worsen my problem of not enough focusing already now. Them there is a very big page with "no" recognizable topic.

External copies (duplicate content):
It's my origin content, but some may have stolen the content from me. May be I should check that and may be this is the bigger reason for ranking drops.

Pics and other supporting content?
Hm, it's not a big step from the "more comprehensive" content I think about to your vision, but is it still a dictionary then? Your vision seems to be a "real" content page. Doing this with single pages for each terms, what about the danger of internal competition with some of the main pages then?


 10:13 pm on Sep 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

Doing this with single pages for each terms, what about the danger of internal competition with some of the main pages then?

That's why I would put them on the main pages -- They add to what you already have there.

If you're worried about them not being counted then I'd go with the fragment links and the definitions at the bottom of the page. Even with the definitions visible on a page load and linked with an <a href="#id"> link it's still possible to override the normal link function when it's clicked and display them in a floating/overlay div so visitors who click don't "lose their place" while reading.


 6:42 am on Sep 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

Another avenue, already suggested, is a single compilation page where you might grow SE interest again... and one way is by adding images relating to the definitions (if applicable) as all the SEs seem to have image love. Bur more importantly add a text intro to the dictionary/glossary which makes it NOT DUPLICATE in generic terms, thus providing new bait for robots trolling the net for what they can find...

i.e. make it special, definitions and all.

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