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Google's Web Definitions in SERPS

     
1:16 pm on Jul 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I have just noticed that when I do a search for something like: what is SEO

Google places at the top of the SERPS, Web definitions for Seo link.

The one link is a wikipedia one.

I have just tried a number of different "what is" and noticed that google seems to like and list glossary pages on websites and list them in the "Web definitions for" link
at the top of the serps.

Has anyone else noticed this?

Any tips on how to get your own site list in the "Web definitions for" list?

I wonder if I should set up a gloassary category in my wordpress site
5:03 pm on July 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I've got one small tip that seemed to help a site I work with - use a relatively unappreciated bit of HTML mark-up - the definition list with DL and DT tags. W3C reference [w3.org].

But that site was in a relatively obscure niche, and not one with a whole lot of competition.
5:15 pm on July 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

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If you want to see a different version of results try it like this:

define:SEO (without spaces)
5:25 pm on July 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Hi tedster,

Are you saying using the tags allowed the site to be in the defintaion list?

My niche is a little obscure so I am interested in learning how to use this
5:28 pm on July 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I have just spotted something that occurs on a few sites that are listed. They have this in the HTML

<meta name='title' content='Glossary'/>

I am wondering if this is what google is reading
5:31 pm on July 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I have a glossary page on one of my sites, which Google uses for some define: searches. The page is called "Glossary" and I used the same DL and DT tags that Tedster mentioned. But the page doesn't draw much traffic from Google, no more than 5 visits per day. Apparently the definition option in Google search isn't used much.
5:40 pm on July 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

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aristotle, thanks for your input. How do you use the tags?
5:56 pm on July 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Ooh I like these DL-DT-DD tags. I actually have a glossary page to write next week so I think I'm going to give these tags a try. Thanks for the tips folks. I wasn't aware of them, or as tedster points out they are: "relatively unappreciated".
6:03 pm on July 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

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wish there was a wordpress plugin that did this for me
6:29 pm on July 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Here is the html code:

<dl>START DEFINITION LIST
<dt>FIRST TERM TO BE DEFINED GOES HERE</dt>
<dd>DEFINITION OF FIRST TERM GOES HERE</dd>

<dt>SECOND TERM TO BE DEFINED GOES HERE</dt>
<dd>DEFINITION OF SECOND TERM GOES HERE</dd>

CONTINUE MORE TERMS ...

</dl>END LIST
7:39 pm on July 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

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wish there was a wordpress plugin that did this for me


There are a ton of Wordpress glossary plugins out there; you might find one that has the tags.
8:24 pm on July 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Two of my website are showing for web definition. I didn't use any DL DT..tags

For the first one it just happened, for the second one I just used the same stuff I had on the first which was bold on the term and descriptive language for the term.

It was kind of Google knew when you try to define a term....

Oh and yeah :) I had many links from surfers who appreciated the work I did on defining the terms, I guess that is why I was up there in the first place…
8:00 am on July 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

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netmeg, cant find one, gone through them all
1:21 pm on July 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

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"My Instant Glossary Pro" looks very promising. I wonder if it works like they say.
1:29 pm on July 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

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RP_Joe, yeah I spotted that one. Downloaded and paid for the pro version. HOWEVER, the plugin needs activating and when you click the link the page is dead. Once I paid for the pro version I didn't receive anything.

So as far as I can see this plug in no longer exists
2:15 pm on July 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Apparently it isn't essential to use the html definition tags. Asher02 said that his glossaries don't use them, yet Google still includes his definitions in the results for define: searches. I did a few searches as a test and found some other examples of this as well.

So If for some reason you can't use the html tags, you can try using a list format with bolded terms, and giving the page the title "Glossary". There's a chance that this would work.
2:23 pm on July 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Ah, one of me favorite subjects. There's quite a bit you can do to provide quality signals in this area.

The Ultimate SEO Guide
[WebmasterWorld.com...]

^ We discussed the various elements that may come into play when ranking for define: queries. Not only is there the Definition List Element <dl> there is also the inline <dfn> Element.

There are a few more elements that come into play in the overall scheme of things like link rel which is where you provide an http reference to the glossary root.
6:12 pm on July 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Google definitions are extracted based on patterns common to definitions. Its an excellent example of information extraction because definitions have a fairly regular patterns, but aren't as simple as phone numbers or email addresses.

[term] is|the process|was|used|"[list item 1], [list item 1]..."| describes [definition]


Of course, they could include the definition tag as an strong indicator of a definition--that may be how they built out the patterns.

I wouldn't spend much trying to optimize the definition search. Its not used nearly as much as regular google, and when it is, people don't visit the source.
9:51 am on July 21, 2010 (gmt 0)

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What about the <dfn> element? Does google use that?
12:41 pm on July 21, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Another HTML markup used for gloss is <acronym>

For example:
Can I get this <acronym title="as soon as possible">ASAP</acronym>?