How Define: Operator Works and How To Get Included in Google Definitions

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Google define:keyword (no space) advanced operator is a very handy (yet not very widely used) way to quickly find the word meaning. However the algorithm behind getting included in Google definitions is unclear.

Google states they use “various sources” to pull the definitions from:

The query [define:] will provide a definition of the words you enter after it, gathered from various online sources. The definition will be for the entire phrase entered (i.e., it will include all the words in the exact order you typed them).

Webmaster experiences with the operator claim:

  • no matter what you do, you can’t be sure your site will appear at Google definitions for some term;
  • however by testing and experimentation webmasters managed to single out some tricks that increase your chances to get ranked for define:keyword search.


Let’s look into those tricks now:

  • to appear in a dictionary-like style the keyword should be followed by a colon and the comma-separated list of related words (remember my post on text relevance mentioning the similar mechanism behind Google Sets? Related words are those that frequently appear together in comma or <li> tag separated lists);
  • create a separate page for your site key terms and include the following (or similar) words in the page title and the file path: “glossary,” “papers,” “library, “journal,” “definitions,” “dictionary,” etc.
  • markup the glossary page the way it looked like a dictionary:
    • use <p>, <tr>, < li>, and <br> to separate the definitions;
    • bold the words you are defining.
  • A few more advanced tips:
    • Don’t capitalize the first letter of the definition;
    • Don’t start a definition with the word “see”;
    • make it more than 5 definitions on the page;
    • use <acronym> tag to markup acronyms.
Ann Smarty

Ann Smarty

Brand amd Community Manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas
Ann Smarty is the blogger and community manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas. Ann's expertise in blogging and tools serve as a base for her writing,... Read Full Bio
Ann Smarty
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