Enhanced Glossaries: A Powerful Tactic for Freelance Business Writing, Content Marketing, and SEO

Photo by Waldemar Brandt on Unsplash

Leveraging the jargon of an industry or product category

Most product, service, and industry categories and types have their own terminology, those words and phrases that describe specific processes and tools. And most buyers new to a category are unlikely to understand those phrases in context. When they encounter them, they are likely to do a search. Here’s a tactic that helps ensure that your content is what they find first.

The enhanced glossary of terms as a marketing tool

Glossaries are typically lists of relevant terms about a subject with brief definitions. The ‘enhanced’ glossary is a series of articles or blog posts, one per subject, that define the term, add context relevant to a buyer’s interests, and close with a direct description of the business benefits inherent in the concept.

There are several attributes to the ‘enhanced’ aspect of a definition:

  • It is optimized for search. These pieces lend themselves naturally to SEO because they answer a specific search enquiry. To take full advantage of this they should lead with a snippet a searcher will see in search results, be written in brief sentences, have descriptive subheads, and get directly to the point.
  • It gives you a legitimate reason to use keyword phrases. Using a keyphrase too frequently is known as ‘stuffing’ and the search algorithms discount and/or punish it. However, in a glossary post, it is legitimate to use a keyphrase more frequently because the context is a definition of that phrase.
  • It is interlinked with other terminology definitions. The goal is a library of entries that reference each other via links. Usually the first time another term is mentioned in an entry, that instance is linked to its own entry, leading a researcher to the next answer they may require (and leading the search crawler to more relevant information). Links should be set to open in a new tab to retain the searcher’s original context and intent.
  • It is agnostic to the brand. This is not a place to pitch product or brand, it is to be seen as an authoritative resource for buyer research.
  • It is designed to create a level of expertise for the reader. Two things should happen here. The buyer becomes more knowledgeable, with your help, and your brand or product is positively associated with that knowledge.

The outline of a glossary entry

Each glossary entry follows the same format:

  • The term is explained in jargon-free language
  • Details are provided if it is a process
  • A business case is made for why the term is important to a buyer (benefits)

Depending on the term, each entry can be 300–600 words long. This is better than a short definition from a search perspective and each term’s entry is a brief article about the term and its usage and value. The language is direct and jargon-free, and does not assume prior knowledge on the part of the reader. It is a primer.

Format and delivery

I have recently been involved with the creation of a glossary in a specialized field. A list of terms was created and each was written as a blog entry. They were organized with a category that only includes other glossary entries. The category page created this way serves as an index of terms.

A glossary home page is created that allows for an alphabetical search for terms. Interrelated terms are linked to each other with internal links

This is equally a content marketing tactic and an SEO tactic

In some ways this tactic is particularly effective because it gives search engine crawlers legitimate context while providing more in-depth and useful information for the buyer researcher. All the tactics in this article are designed for SEO but without ‘gaming’ the system.

This is a content tactic I don’t see often and I have to credit my client for figuring it out and optimizing it. It is a powerful way to establish expertise while offering value to your prospective customers, a vital combination for content marketers.

A note to freelance content producers

This is a tactic that you can bring to clients in any complex field. It not only works, but it can also generate an ongoing stream of work as you build out the glossary. To add it to your product mix, create a document, describing the value and the process, to use as a sales tool, sharing with potential clients to demonstrate expertise and an understanding of content management logic. I’d also suggest defining a scenario of how this would work for their specific business (benefits).

Former software marketer. Former musician. Writer, nine non-fiction books, two novels, Buddhist, train lover. Amateur cook, lover of life most of the time!

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