How can I improve SEO for a very big dictionary website?

Screaming Frog SEO Spider Tool & Crawler Download Links

Answer by Jason Darrell, via Quora; for full context, visit the original Quora thread.

My question would be: “if my site truly "is already the biggest and official dictionary in that language", why isn't it ranking first, anyway?”

You can approach the ranking aspect from two directions:

  1. content;
  2. usability.

As Jaime J Candau suggests, try offering pseudonyms and antonyms (as per Thesaurus) and other language tools on top of your explanation of the word itself.

Also, you may want to consider:

  • is your description totally unique to the Internet?
  • does the way you describe the meaning of a word add more potential value to the user than other online dictionaries?
  • is the word offered in all tenses and formats, with examples of it being used in a sentence?

Then, as Mohit Maheshwari alludes, do you offer a way for your users to share their grammatical discovery right from your website?

Do you have the time/budget to run a word-a-day promo on social?

Are you engaging with people who want to develop or learn from scratch your language?

Of course, check all the SEO basics for every page, if you've not done so.

This META SEO Inspector extension for Chrome will help you check page-by-page. It lives in the browser as an extension and you can see what's right or wrong with a page's SEO (or mark up) at a glance.

But I guess with 2.5M words you'll want to check in bulk. In that case, Screaming Frog's SEO Spider will let you download your content in bulk.

nb – if memory serves, 500 URLs are free to extract, but you'd need a pro membership for as many pages as you need to SEO.

Your SEO priority has to be the UX.

But more than anything, what does each page contain in the way of ads, flash and widgets?

From my experience of Collins and other online dictionaries, they generate income by plastering ads everywhere. In fact, there's sometimes so much advertising it's difficult to pick out what it is you've visited the page for.

Is the information the user is looking for expressly clear and visible as soon as they land on page? Try to make the user's experience as painless as possible.

More page load speed time, the less likely it is your customer will hang around. Less return visitors for you, less authority in Google's eyes.

And Google did confirm (not that we didn't know anyway) that load speed is now a definite ranking factor at State of Search Dallas not so long ago.

And, of course, optimise your website for mobile with a responsive design.

In short, aim to provide the best service possible, add the most value and your customers will begin to bookmark your dictionary and return time and again. Word-of-mouth will earn links to your site, thus may have additional benefit because of a heightened link profile.

SEO is not an overnight process and the results – as well as the implementation – will take time. But if you do it the right way, the results will be greater and last a lot longer.

image credit: screenshot of Screaming Frog free download links

Demand Media Take “Write Epic Shit” Too Literally

How Demand Media took “Write Epic Shit” too literally

If there’s one thing I hate, it’s crappy writing.

Sea view telescope looking out from Mablethorp...

There may be the odd reference on this blog to back up the above quote/statement. So when I heard from Brian Clark on Google+ that Demand Media was fading fast, I rubbed my hands with glee.

I do apologise to all its staff for delighting in DM‘s demise, but the Internet does not need this sort of copywriting. Neither do writers, readers nor search engines, if we’re getting real.

Sadly, the company (and its subsidiaries) doesn’t seem to be as bad off as all that:

  • Writers will still be exploited
  • editors will still do their level best to drown out a good copywriter’s talent by stifling them with dubious editing guidelines
  • readers and site visitors will still be non-plussed when they land on site expecting expert information.

Is there a silver lining?

What the “haemorrhaging traffic” and plummet in visitors may yet do is force Demand Media to allow its writers’ voices to cut through the mundanity and actually accentuate the content.

Can (or should) the editing team educate writers to produce content that’s both informative and engaging?

If the comments on Variety’s post (see: related articles) are to be believed, the authors are not where the problem lies. However, the majority of its written content makes a wet weekend in Mablethorpe look like a month on The Costas.

It may also encourage a proper wage for its contributors, too. The knock-on effect of Demand realising that “you get what you pay for” would resonate across global media.

Now that would be progress, if it happened. Let’s just see if public opinion outstrips demand, shall we?

Have Your Say:

  • Is the demise of Demand Media a good thing for global media?
  • Or, if managed properly, could it yet be a platform to launch the Internet’s future backbone, quality copywriters?

On-Page Anchor Text for Navigation

Ever wanted to jump from one section to another on the same webpage?

Using HTML anchor text to accomplish this neat same-page navigation trick really helps your readers get about your site.

↓Jump to bonus tip!↓

To accomplish this, you need to create two snippets of HTML:

  1. a target: ◎
  2. an anchor: ⚓
anchor and navigation
anchor text helps on-page navigation

The target, where you want to send your reader to, is often a header further down the page.  Meanwhile, the anchor usually fits in alongside your content at the top of the page.

Think of it as a navigation tool.

As a live, working example, the above “↓Jump to bonus tip↓” is one such anchor.

Go on, press it.  I won’t tell, promise.

The role’s reversed for “back to top” anchor text

The obvious exception to the anchor top/target down rule is the popular use of “back to top“. When using this ‘jump’ feature, you’d create the target at the top of the page.

Your target need not be in a header; however, in WordPress*, you do find that it remains stable a lot longer if you wrap your HTML in with some other content.

But, as long as the reader is brought “back to [the] top” of the item they’re reading, the anchor’s done its job.

That accompanying anchor – the “back to top” text that sends your reader to the top of the page – will appear as a normal hyperlink on your page.  However, in the dashboard, the words will be wrapped in your HTML code, as per the following examples.

*Tip!In WordPress, once you’ve successfully created the HTML code for the page and got the targets and anchors working, save a copy of the HTML to a notepad document.

WordPress notoriously “forgets” HTML when switching between ‘Visual’ (Rich Text) and ‘HTML’ (plain text) editing screens.

Here are two examples of same-page navigation:

1. – Jumping to a header further down the page:

  • <a href=”#Summary“>Jump to article summary</a>
    • <p>[…] Blurb</p>
  • <h4><a id=”Summary“>Article Summary</a></h4>
    • <p>[…] Summary Blurb</p>

The green syntax is your anchor/target HTML code. I’ve used a ‘h4‘ header to secure the target in example 1.  This is purely because a Summary is usually the last heading on a page.

The blue words are your identifiers for the anchor and its corresponding target.  You can name these any way you wish, as long as the names (minus the hashtag) match.

If you’re writing a lengthy article, it’s good practise to reference your matching target/anchor with the place in the document where the ‘jump’ will take your reader once they’ve clicked the anchor, or hyperlink.

The hashtag (#) that proceeds your anchor link id in the HTML code (in example 1: “Summary“) informs the server to find the corresponding target of the same name.

The content between > and < is the only text your reader sees on page, even when the HTML code is inserted into a header.  They will see the anchor as a hyperlink to click in the first instance, but will see no outward signs of the target once the page has jumped.

By naming the >anchor display text< similarly to the target header, it serves to identify that your reader has arrived at the right place after your webpage has jumped.

Therefore, in the example at the top of this page, the “↓Jump To Bonus Tip↓” text is the Anchor, whilst the header below, “Bonus Tip“, is the target.

2. – Back to top

  • <a id=”BTT“></a>
    • <p>[…] Blurb</p>
  • <p><a href=”#BTT“>Back To Top</a></p>

The same principal applies with “back to top“.  Only, the anchor to click is below the text, the target at the beginning of the page or text, wherever you decide ‘top’ is.

Bonus Tip:

You can have many anchors pointing to the same target on one page as is necessary.  For instance:

  • <p><a href=”#BTT”>Back To Top</a></p>

can appear after each section.  If you’re writing a review, for example, someone may only be interested in certain aspects.

If you create an index at the top of the page, a bullet-list of section headings each with their own anchor text will suffice, the reader can jump to that section without having to scroll through irrelevant content.

They can then click “back to top” after completing that section and choose the next topic of interest from the bullet-list.  If your article is academic with many sections, it may be beneficial to create a table of contents rather than a simple list.

One thing that you must remember is that the accompanying target, <a id=”BTT”></a> in example 2, must be unique.

If you insert that target into the table of contents/bullet-list header, you’ll ensure that the user only ever gets taken back to the one place in the document.

Try the live function of example 2, now:
↑Back To Top↑

Here, “↑Back To Top↑” is the anchor; the target, <a id=”BTT“></a>, is built into the H2 header and looks like this as a HTML line of code:

  • <h2><a id=”BTT“>Ever wanted to jump from one section to another on the same webpage?</a></h2>


Using HTML anchor text to “jump” on page is awesome for UX, navigation & SEO. ←Tweet This!

It can be a real boon for your readers if they’re perusing your FAQ Page, a novella or white paper where the sections between headers are expansive.

There are SEO benefits, too.  Remember, Google is looking to deliver the best user experience.

Even if the search giant’s not currently incorporating on-page anchor text in its algorithms, you can bet it will if it acknowledges the improvement to the UX.

Yes, it takes time to insert them, especially if a story’s going to run indefinitely. However, the more attempts you’re implementing to assist the user, the more you’ll be rewarded in SERPs.

Admittedly, on-page navigation anchors won’t get you to #1, page 1 in their own right.

But it’s still good practise to get into; as Stephan Hovnanian pointed out on Google+:

Furthermore, as featured articles become more prevalent in search results, the more people you’ll naturally entice back to your site.

Why?  Because anchors make your website extremely user-friendly.  This will be noticeable to Google via return visitors, clicks on screen and where it matters to you: on your bottom line!

Image courtesy of njaj /

Penguin 2.0 – what’s in store for SEO this time?

Okay, don’t rip me a new one about the style in the Scribd pdf below.  They’re notes taken from Matt Cutts‘ recent video about what we can expect in the imminent (confirmed) Penguin 2.0 update.

As I was taking these notes, using, a freeware Drive app created for use with Coursera, I hit upon an unconventional way to adapt blog posts to your own theme.

Switch off your brain to produce natural content

The theory is, if you switch your brain off from adapting the existing content to your site’s theme, your notes will reflect a much more unique article.

Not only unique in content, but a unique perspective.  Think about, these notes will rattle fast and you’ll have to force your knowledge of the niche between your note-taking to keep up with the audio.

You may have keyword density in mind, word count and other factors that generally distract you from the real purpose of the blog.

You’ve got that purpose pegged as: providing answers for your readership’s questions, right?  Yes, the very essence of search, without which there would be only an ocean of self-promotion and how boring would that be?

Once you’ve nailed the ‘purpose’ concept, it shouldn’t take too long before you’re producing top quality content that both Google and, more importantly, your readership loves.

YouTube testing just one of 4 steps in the new curation process

I’m still testing the four components to make sure the results are okay before I pontificate about the process too much.  Any Sherlocks amongst you will have spotted three corners, at least.

And, no, I’m not going to point the fourth out if you’ve not fathomed it yourself.  You’re a hop, skip and a jump away from putting the last piece of the jigsaw together from here, as it is.

So, I’m off to try out the theory for tomorrow’s Car Insurance and Freelance Supermarket articles. I’ll hopefully be brimming with excitement this time tomorrow, providing I’m not up all night here.

Matt Cutts’ video warns of harsh summer ahead for black hats post Penguin 2-point-oh!

Until then, please feel free to skim the Penguin 2.0 update notes, notes which will form the basis of a unique article under normal circumstances.

There’s additional info about what the Google Spam Team has in store over the coming weeks and months. If you’re black-hatting or breaching advertorial guidelines, as Matt says:

it’s going to be a more eventful summer for you

than for the white hat seo guys.

p.s. – just tried Microsoft Windows Movie Maker – the quality of audio is so much better than recording to YouTube direct.  Think I’m going with WMV files, providing there’s no issue getting them up onto YouTube.

Plus, the WMV editorial kit looks a little more intuitive and concise.  Could have a bit of fun with this lot.  Roll over Stan Kubrick…

Why ride the Business rollercoaster in the cheap seats? Invest and make it fun!

See my take on -in topic: Social Sharing SEO
design hosting conversion

Owning a business can be heaven. Freedom to call your own shots, manage your own risk, live by your values, and spit in the eye of all those nay-sayers

Zebedeerox‘s insight:

There’ll be many bloggers, freelancer copywriters and would-be online entrepreneurs currently either trying to make their mark, decide if the time’s right for them to go for it or evolve their existing business.

Spotting an opportunity is one thing. Having the balls to go for it and make a success of it is another entirely.

Making a go of life under your own steam requires a HUGE leap of faith.

However, you can at least provide yourself with a safety net if you approach your opportunity in the appropriate manner and are prepared for all eventualities.

Strap in – it could be a bumpy ride

There are several ways that you can at least exercise damage limitation and prevent yourself looking amateurish if what you opine is your chance to make a mark eventually turns out to be a dud.

This latest article by Copyblogger underlines the importance of understanding that your business is never always going to run smoothly along the flat.  Where’s the fun in that, anyway?

There are ways to take the edge off the tasks you don’t like doing and subsequently give you the best possible chance of success…if you have the best tools for groundwork, implementation and conversion in the first instance.

Running your own business is not one learning curve. It’s a veritable roller-coaster ride of ups, downs, highs and lows.

Protecting yourself with a sufficient safety harness, strong enough to keep you secure at the trough of sharpest of drops, can be the difference between being thrown out of the carriage or keeping you in the driving seat to let the momentum – and the thrill – carry you on towards the next peak.

And, yes, when you’re on the way up, up and up, the landscape does take on a new, very different perspective.

You must learn that, to get to the end of the ride and enjoy it to its potential, you have to let go some time.  You cannot possibly get the maximum thrill when you’re bogged down with worrying about safety at every turn.

Yes, even when you’re upside down a quarter of a mile in the air, Blackpool Beach is where the sky’s supposed to be and where there were donkeys a moment ago now lies the great blue yonder and fluffy clouds.

That’s where outsourcing comes in (chug, chug, chug, chug, chug…and we’re out of the rollercoaster analogy, now, for those of you scared of heights).

If you are going to grow as a business person, you have to be prepared to invest in your business.

By finding qualified, like-minded professionals you have the opportunity to turn your investment in them full circle into an investment in your business.

And, yes, if they’re good enough, why not bring them along for the ride, too!?  Reap what you sow, and all that malarkey.

If you’re hoping to get into any sort of business that involves making a splash online using professional, quality content and you’ve not stumbled across Brian Clark and the Copyblogger team yet, head on over there, now.

The particular article linked through the header (above) is by Sonia Simone and outlines what you need to do to be accepted as a serious entity online.

If now’s the time to start taking your online presence seriously, investing in you and building your brand, there are few better places to start your education than Copyblogger.

See the full article by Sonia Simone on

Now don’t be scared – all you need to know about online marketing is here…

This is gonna seem like an awful lot of information to take in at once. It is for me and I thought I knew a bit. Turns out, I know shit.

Post this to your Pinterest wall and everyone will think that you’re the jay-knee-us. Seriously.

Start building a following with this, now and sign up to the unbounce e-mail – I’ve done that, too…
…erm, enjoy?

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