There are a lot of people online who claim that SEO (search engine optimisation) stop words may hurt your overall SEO strategy, while others say they are unavoidable and needed in your content. Read on and we will try and educate you with everything you need to know about these important bits of content.
What Are Google Stop Words?
Google stop words, also known as SEO stop words, are the words which tend to be partially or entirely ignored by search engines and we mean Google. Some examples are: the, an, a, of, or, many, the list if quite long! (If you would like to see the full list why not drop us an email).
The analytics show that they are more or less the 25% of blog posts around the world wide web, but they do not necessarily have anything to do with the relevant content. Search engines often ignore these SEO stop words, in both search queries and results. And, there is an actual list of stop words that are filtered out during a search, this is to optimise some other aspects of the search.
From Google’s perspective, stop words are basically fluff or flotsam that does not influence the search results being displayed.
Are Stop Words Damaging For SEO?
There are many SEO stop words in a search, or in thousands of them at a time, may cause lags in page download times, and also a level of ambiguity in the search results, all of it resulting in possibly the wrong information being displayed to the end user. By eliminating stop words from their massive databases, Google can provide even faster and accurate search results for their users.
For example, if a person runs a search for “a plumber in Exeter,” the words “a” and “in” do not change the meaning of the rest of the words typed, so Google would leave them out and provide “Plumbers Exeter” results instead.
Some searchers type complete sentences like “Who are the best plumbers in Exeter?”. After the algorithms filter the unnecessary words out, Google actually shows “Plumbers Exeter” search results instead. Google still provides the expected results, but without putting in as much work to generate them for the end user
Stop Words And Result Pages
It does actually seem like we are talking about a person here, but this is something that may cause many problems to search engines at the moment of ranking a page or blog, or also ambiguity in the search, server load problems, among others.
When users avoid stop words the filtering time is minimal delivering instant results.
One good example of this could be a blog ranking for the keyword, “what is meant by organic search” then it would also rank for “what is organic search” as the blogger might expect. Here, the stop word is “is meant by.” The SERP result comes up faster, saving a lot of time when ignoring all those cosmetic expressions.
Can Stop Words Be A Positive SEO Addition?
Sometimes stop words are making phrases or sentences different. In these cases, Google’s search algorithm is intelligent enough to consider them, interpreting the meaning of the search query by looking at the words alongside the main keyword.
As complicated as it may sound is as simple as this: take a look at these two elements that may be searched by a user: “Matrix” and “The Matrix.” One is a math expression, and the other is an amazing movie. In this example, the word “the” is the stop word. In the search results, the algorithm would consider the stop word because without it the meaning would be completely different.
What The SEO Agencies Say About Stop Words
Many SEO experts suggest that it is better to remove SEO stop words from the URL. Even the widely popular Yoast WordPress SEO plugin follow this train of thought. They often suggest that including Google stop words might have an undesired effect in rankings, as well as making the URL much longer, and hence more difficult to remember.
Would stop words hurt a websites SEO? That is not entirely true. Any good search engine has the purpose of enhancing the end users’ experience, and filtering out stop words could, in a huge percentage, spoil the users’ experience.
Additionally, the stop words are necessary to be grammatically correct and add further meaning to sentences.
Therefore, search engines are becoming smarter discouraging the idea that SEO stop words are completely bad when actually avoiding them completely would be unnatural and bad for the pages and users.
SEO Agency Devon
Stop words do not hurt SEO, their excessive usage does. Make a use of general words, expressions and keywords for any site, using stop words limitedly and only when necessary, that may count as the best practice in SEO, as far as Google is concerned.