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How does Google find and index dictionary definitions?

     
5:56 am on Apr 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

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If you type define:antelope in a Google search bar it will show dictionary definitions for antelope. How does Google decide which pages are part of a dictionary and index them as such?
10:31 am on Apr 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I think may be rel="glossary" tag in link element <a rel="glossary" href="...">
3:27 pm on Apr 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

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If you do a few define: operator searches and examine the source code of the pages in the results, you can find several ways to create a glossary page that will be included in those searches. The key seems to be to clearly identify the information as a glossary or dictionary, and to structure the information within your HTML mark-up in ways that make it simple to parse.

The only one I have made is targeted at a very small niche and it doesn't have to compete against many other glossaries, so I can't say what works best. I made a page that included several paragraphs of text in addition to the glossary, which I intended to add quality and relevance. The more robust definitions seem to rank better, but that's from a very limited sample.
1:53 pm on Apr 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

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One possible method is to use the html <dfn> element to indicate a definition. For example:

<p>A <dfn>widget</dfn> is a mysterious device used for unknown purposes by un-identified persons.

Another possibility is to use the html definition list elements <dl>, <dt>, and <dd>
2:25 pm on Apr 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Another possibility is to use the html definition list elements

I misused those tags on a page that I designed in my less experienced days. Maybe that is why it always did well for long tail searches.
6:36 pm on Apr 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Hmm - I just tried to test Google's definition search by doing several searches using "define: #*$!#*$!x" (without quotes), and in one case nine of the first ten results were from en.Wikipedia.org. Doesn't this violate Google's rule that no more than two results can come from the same domain? Apparently the rule doen't apply to definition searches.
6:57 pm on Apr 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Apparently the rule doen't apply to definition searches.

Or, maybe it doesn't apply to wikipedia? LOL
 

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