Add an Online Glossary to Improve Website Traffic and Search Rankings

Online Glossary to Improve Website Traffic

As a small business owner, you are the expert with regards to your products and services. Your website can gain valuable traffic and improve its findability on search engines by sharing that expertise in the form of an online glossary or dictionary.  This article highlights some of the basics to get you started.

An Example of How a Glossary Improves Web Traffic

I worked with a local flooring franchise on an SEO project. Initially, the website was receiving a search engine visit once every four days for 9 web pages. A flooring glossary of about 25 pages was added to the website in June 2011. By the end of 2011, search traffic increased over 900% to 3 visits a day. This may not seem like a lot of visits, but keep in mind that this is a small business with a specialized focus.

The glossary entry page provides a summary of the different types of flooring and links to more detailed content for each specific type. Each glossary page is optimized separately with a call to action to contact the flooring company for more information.

The flooring glossary’s owner, Donna Teagle of Floor Covering International Wheaton/Naperville, shared this with SEO Tips and Strategies: “Just this week I received a request for olefin carpet on a stairway.  When a customer is looking for something that specific if you do not have an online glossary they won’t find you.”

Benefits of Online Glossaries and Dictionaries

  • Naturally increases website traffic over time
  • Provides something of value to website visitors in the form of information
  • Establishes your company expertise and experience online
  • Sets up a framework to add content for new products, services, or industry jargon

Should You Add a Glossary to Your Website?

When considering whether to add a glossary or dictionary to your website, keep in mind the goals for your website. Then ask yourself some questions:

  • Does your business sell products or services that you must constantly explain to people?
  • Do you have an e-commerce site selling specialty products?
  • Can you use a glossary or dictionary to help sell your products and services?
  • Do you want to add meaningful traffic to your website?
  • Do you have the time to devote to creating and maintaining the glossary? Can a staff member or outside resource be assigned to this task?

In making your decision, remember that a glossary is mainly informational not a sales tool. If you put a definition in the glossary, it should talk about the properties and benefits of the item you are defining. You can always add a simple call to action to invite visitors to contact you for more information.

10 Tips for Creating an Online Glossary or Dictionary

An online glossary can take some time to create, so you’ll want to start with the main page and add detail pages along the way. The main page will contain a list of all terms with brief definitions of each. You can then create a detail page for each individual term.

An online glossary should be unique and written by you or someone in your company. Write it in your style with a focus on your industry niche.

Here are some tips to get you started:

  1. Start by making a list of common terms and definitions in a word processor or spreadsheet. Use your company’s terms, industry terms, and common terms that potential customers would use.
  2. Decide how you want to present information on the main page of the glossary. Traditionally, a glossary is organized alphabetically, but you may want to group the definitions by category or product type. Put a brief definition of each term on the main page with links to detail pages (if available).
  3. Decide how you want to present information on each detail page. In addition to the term and definition, you may want to include cross references for abbreviations or aliases for the term, pictures, benefits/properties, links to external resources, link to a product or service page, and so on. You don’t need to have a detail page for every term. Start with a few and add more over time.
  4. Identify related products and services that correspond with glossary terms. If you have a page on your website or shopping cart item that applies to a term, then add a link to that on the glossary detail page.
  5. Optimize each page for the keywords relating to that term and definition: Title Tag, H1 Tag, Meta Description, etc.
  6. Add a call to action to each glossary page so that visitors can contact you for more information.
  7. Add a link from your main website navigation to the main glossary page.
  8. Add cross-linking from the other pages on your website to the glossary and vice-versa.
  9. Generate a new XML sitemap for your website every time you update the glossary.
  10. Make your glossary or dictionary searchable.


While some of the above tips are technical in nature and may require a website designer/programmer, business owners can get the ball rolling with the first four tips.

Remember that you don’t need to implement the entire glossary at the same time. In fact, an online glossary or dictionary is like a living document that can be updated and added to over time. This not only provides fresh content for search engines and searchers, but also valuable information for your customers and prospects.