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The Internet is Yours – Shape it!

DictionaryNet is about giving you access to quality reference works. But more importantly it is about bringing  glossaries and monolingual English dictionaries into the spotlight that otherwise might go unnoticed simply by the fact that they have a poor and unjustified ranking in search engine results.

While I do care less whether or not you are linking back to DictionaryNet or not, I would like to motivate you to support reference works you like and appreciate. Help them to get more exposure and recognition!

Here are a few tips how let them climb up in search results:

1.) Give reference to our source – Link back to them!

Back links are one of the most influential elements to support a site. Whenever you quote a definition from an online glossary, please give reference to the source including a link back to the site. This holds true whether you publish the definition online or use it in a printed document.

For each reference work I describe here on DictionaryNet I also add a suggestion how to quote it. Here is an example:

Glossary / Dictionary Details
Title: Glossary of Piano Terms Terms: 83
Link: http://www.bluebookofpianos.com/glossary.htm Language: English
Quote as: Glossary of Piano Terms. Copyright 2011 © Bluebook of Pianos All Rights Reserved. [+link] Last visited: November 08, 2011

Please – never link back to DictionaryNet if you want to promote a reference work, always link back to the original page!

  • If you have a blog, consider to add a link in your blog roll or even to discuss the source in one of your blog post.
  • Website owners: Having a link page? If yes, add also links to reference sources that are valuable to your website visitors. If no, maybe just the time to start one.

2.) Get social, share it away!

  • Quite likely you are on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. So why not share a link to an exceptional reference work with your friends and colleagues?
  • Very helpful for driving additional traffic to a reference work – recommend it via StumbleUpon.
  • Having a Google+ account? Great! You spotted a good reference work on result page 7 (wow – when was it the last time you were so desperately looking for something that you actually browsed to trough more than two result pages…)   So if after all that work you spotted a helpful reference work, give back! Click the “=1” button, will you?

As said this is not about DictionaryNet, but if you like us, happy to get a Plus from you as well.

If you are an author of a glossary and need some more help how to promote your worke, do not hesitate to leave a comment or to contact me via email: dictionarynet123@gmail.com.

Cheers – Ursula (Your Dictionary Guide)

Five Tips for Adding a Glossary to Your Site

Thinking about adding a glossary to your website? Great idea, go ahead! There are many good reasons for setting up a glossary, e.g. it makes your site more attractive, helps your reader to understand the concepts you are presenting, and can even drive additional traffic to your website.

Here are five tips to consider before starting:

1.) Define the purpose and scope of your glossary.

Be clear about your aims, it will save you time and help you to develop the glossary. Take two examples: a governmental agency website maintaining a 30,000 terms glossary as part of their mandate to inform and educate the public and a small business website offering a glossary of common terms comprising of some 20 entries. Welcome to the world of online glossaries! So be realistic about your goals, your resources – time, knowledge/expertise, implementation skills, and your audience. And do your homework – see what online glossaries are already covering your subject.

2.) Design and user friendliness count!

Let’s go to an extreme (even though more often found than you might assume): Given you only want to add a glossary for SEO reasons, to have a long-tail of keywords – why to waste any time on user friendliness? It is Google you are after and not a real audience. Wrong – what is good for your user is good for SEO. Old wisdom, more relevant than ever. Also forget about link exchange and buying back links – it is about earning your back links these days. So you better take that seriously and design a glossary that is helpful and easy to navigate even or especially when you want to see good results in your SERP.

Structuring smaller glossaries (20-50 terms)

Clearly the design of a glossary is related to its size. Not too much to do, if your glossary is only a few terms long – let’s say between 20-50 terms. No problem to put all of them on one webpage.  Have the term in bold and in a separate line, followed by a paragraph holding the definition. That will do. You might want to list all terms at the top of the page, linking them with anchors to the specific paragraph.

The more terms you offer the more you have to invest in an easy navigation: Browse per letter, search feature, etc. And don’t forget – getting to a specific term and definition is one thing, enabling the user to get back to the overview is another one. Many glossary builder overlook that!

Glossaries as part of your Support Channels

Say you want to write a glossary explaining the terminology you use on your website, for service or application. You should be in a good position as to the expertise needed for writing a glossary, after all it is your service/application. A glossary like this is extremely helpful in limiting confusion, increasing customer experience, and deflecting support inquiries.

You can bring these positive results to another level when you take care to have your glossaries as integrated part of your self-service support – e.g. articles, documentations, Q&A, etc. Whenever you have articles about a certain term in your glossary, don’t forget to link to it. Integrated part simply means easy transition from one support channel to the offer. So for some reading your FAQs, should be aware of the existence of the glossary of common terms and should have easy access to it.

3.) Don’t steal!

Online glossaries belong to two worlds: the Internet and the sharing of intellectual property. Both worlds have rules and etiquette – and one rule both worlds share is – give reference to sources! And yes, even a two sentence definition of a term that you have taken form another website or book should be given reference to.

Writing a glossary is not as easy as it looks: a definition should be clear, short and valid.  As we all know – short is always harder than long explanations. So the temptation to take “such a small piece of information” from another source is high.

Let’s face it, it is stealing and it is done all over the places. I recently reviewed Chocolate glossaries, and one of the check I do is to see how unique a glossary is. For that I simply “google” a definition and see how many glossaries come up with exactly the same definition.

Let so let’s make an example!

Step 1: Here is the definition of “Xocoatl” I first encountered on Chocolatesource.com – Glossary of Chocolate and here is the definition: Xocoatl is the original name the Aztecs, Toltecs, Mayas and Incas gave to a stimulating drink they brewed from cocoa beans. It was a mixture of cocoa, maize (Indian corn) and water.

Step 2: I place the definition or a rather unique looking part of it into Google as an exact search (to make an exact search enclose your search string with “).

31 results for the same phrase. Visiting the glossaries it becomes clear that the entire definition and in most cases the whole glossaries are the same! Only 5 sites give reference to the source, while many other have the glossary followed by their own copyright remark!

Please don’t do that. If you take only one definition from a specific source, add a back link. That would be sufficient and seen as fair use. If you want to use an entire glossary, there is no way around from asking reprint permission from the glossary owner. 

A glossary is not only its definitions. It is also making the decision which terms should enter your glossary. I think it is perfectly fine to get orientation from other glossaries concerning which terms should be considered. That is a way of learning. Try to concentrate on the main terms first. An online glossary, like every webpage is constantly “work in progress”. Go online with a small, decent version and let your glossary grow over time.

5.) Keep communication channels open.

Your glossary is a service to your site visitors. Give your visitors a change to comment on your glossary, suggest more terms, or point out mistakes. You will draw motivation and insights from the feedback you receive.

If you are running the glossary on your SMB website, make it an issue everyone in your company can contribute to. Maybe from some terms of Product Manager is the right one to suggest a definition, while in another case your Account Manager can point out terms to you that are constantly misunderstood by your customers.

Like every other property and feature on your website, use your glossary to get social. Announce it on Twitter and Facebook, mention it in your newsletters.

6.) Keep it updated.

Only in rare cases a glossary will stay static for longer than 1-2 years. Certainly depends on the subject. But language changes, new technologies arise, and with this your glossary might need an update.

Sorry – my dear friends, this post got way longer than I intended. If you need some help or want to discuss your own glossary project with me, do not hesitate to leave a comment or to contact me via email: dictionarynet123@gmail.com.

One Word about Copyright

No doubt to respect the intellectual rights of others is one of most basic and important rules for a fruitful interaction on the Internet. What is widely taught to students at universities’ bibliography lessons is quite unknown to regular Internet user.

But there are case worse than that. Many times I see one and the same glossary on different websites. Then the puzzling begins, who original content is it, who was copying (with or without permission).

Here is an example:

Perfumes Net (www.perfumes.net) – I site not to my taste – offers a “OLFACTORY FRAGRANCE TERMS Glossary” at http://www.perfumes.net/perfumes/glossary.html. No copyright or remark concerning the glossary can be found. When working with online glossary for years you get a feeling about if or not a glossary is suitable to the overall content of a site. Here I had the feeling that it didn’t. So I chose an example term and googled on its definition.

Like this I came to the Fragrance Glossary at the Ministry of Fragrance (www.ministryoffragrance.com). Here I got one step closer to the main source thanks to a note after the glossary. “Most definitions come from the CFSS guide from the Fragrance Foundation.

Well done Ministry of Fragrance!!!

The “real” glossary is to be found at the Fragrance Foundation. This foundation was “established in 1949 by six industry leaders affiliated with Elizabeth Arden, Coty, Guerlain, Helena Rubenstein, Chanel and Parfums Weil, to develop educational programs about the importance and pleasures of fragrance for the American public.”

When you are interested to add a glossary to your site, don’t just simply copy and paste the text without giving reference and more important,without checking the copyright and reprint permission policy of the glossary owner. Fragrance.org is actually very generous about the reuse of their material:

Unless particular materials are specifically restricted as noted on the web page, it is The Fragrance Foundation’s policy to allow limited reproduction and distribution of the materials posted on our site as follows: You may copy, reproduce and distribute content from this site provided that: (1) the particular article or section is reproduced in its entirety in its original form; you may not edit or otherwise change the substance of the content, or change or delete any copyright, trademark and other proprietary notices; (2) all copies include a statement that the material was reproduced from senseofsmell.org with permission of The Fragrance Foundation; (3) all copies include the following notice “Copyright ©2001 The Fragrance Foundation. All Rights Reserved.”; (4) the copies are distributed only for educational or scientific purposes; and (5) the copies are distributed at no charge, or at most, at actual cost. Provided you comply with all of these conditions, The Fragrance Foundation grants you a non-exclusive, non-transferable license to use the materials on our site.

What is left to do? I will add a new entry about a Fragrance glossary with giving you the URL to the real source….

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