How To Write A Definition Page That Builds You And Your Site

In the last post, I mentioned deep linking and how to develop content. Well here is a prime example. You’ll have terms that really need an in depth explanation for the reader to fully understand what you’re saying. After all, what kind of educating would it be if you assumed that critical knowledge was already in place?


In keeping with that thought, I’ll take the example I showed in the last post. “What is deep linking” is a prime example of a definition post. It’s also what is called “link bait” or a topic that others will just link to rather than write themselves.

To give you a clear idea of what link bait is and how powerful it really is for your business blog, I'll give you some examples starting with Copyblogger's history of link bait. Here is a link to Ana Hoffman's take on link bait. The full list can be found on Ana's site. Additionally, here is what Matt Cutts of Google has to say about link bait.

The parts of a definition post are:
Before anything else, jot down your thoughts on the subject. Then do some research. You want to make sure you have a full handle on the term yourself. We sometimes get our own ideas and interpretations that may not always be correct. Be sure that you have the accepted definition and then you can give your insight. That truly makes the article unique and worthy of sharing with others. 


That's your goal by the way to create content that goes viral and truly sets you apart from the crowd, not just the hum-drum.


  1.       Give the overview of the definition
  2.       Explain why and how it is used
  3.       Explain the benefits
  4.       Give examples that place the reader in the position of using


You can see by the example that this is a guideline rather than a rigid structure. I explained the benefits while explaining the why and how. It is a matter of preference and what works for you both in style and results. Do take note that all of the elements are present though. That is something that should not be changed.


Give the overview of the definition

If you look at the opening paragraph, you’ll see that the term is actually fully defined. Do this so that someone reading with very little time to spare can get that understanding and move on. Your time challenged reader will appreciate that.

With that time challenged reader and the search engines in mind, use descriptive headings for sections using the h2 tags.  This helps the reader scan through the post to see if they want to invest the time to read further and helps the search engine have a better understanding of what your post is relevant to.


Explain why and how the term is used

You can devote as much space as weight you place on a given term. Keep in mind that the “term” could even be a product or service. But in any event, the reader’s greater understanding of this term will increase their likelihood of becoming your customer. A well rounded understanding of the term benefits both them and you.

Explain both of these well and you have created a piece of  evergreen content. If you read Ana's 202 tips post, you might realize that it is both link bait and an evergreen post. It also is a springboard for follow ups. In fact, here is Ana's follow up that talks specifically about evergreen content while going further in depth on the list.


Explain the benefits

Explaining the benefits is not restricted to information specifically about your product or service. You want your reader to have a working knowledge of that term so they can relate themselves to and ultimately buy your product/service. In order to do that, they need to realize what is in it for them. The reader needs to see how this fits in the big picture from their perspective. Keep that in mind when you’re discussing the benefits.


Give examples that place the reader in the position of using

That’s your goal. Give the reader a call to action. Now that you’ve defined the term, it’s time to do something with it. People are eager to test their new found knowledge and get the most from it. Think back to a time you learned something new. Think about the possibilities you had considered once you realized how that knowledge could open doors you never saw before.

You’re doing it now aren’t you?

Now’s the time to act, to strike while the iron is hot. Take a look at some of your posts and see if there are terms that could be defined and built out. There’s your source of new content.


Next I’ll show you how to schedule posts so you can develop consistency.


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  • Ana Hoffman

    Reply Reply September 5, 2012

    Nicely done, Rob – definitely a great in-depth post on how to write a great in-depth definition post!

    Of course, the mention is much appreciated.

    • Rob Calhoun

      Reply Reply September 6, 2012

      Thank you Ana. Coming from you, that means a lot!

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