The debate on whether to use google stop words seems to never end. In some cases` they appear as words that may hurt SEO strategies, and in other cases they are believed as natural and unavoidable.
The real meaning of stop words and their function or impact search engine optimization is only seen in the real practice. A clear help as starter would be to unveil in this discussion about them and discuss them on different contexts along different SEO performances.
Google stop words in SEO, what are they?
Stop words are those words which tend to be partially or completely ignored by search engines. Some examples are: the, an, a, of, or, many, etc.
Statistics show that they are more or less the 25% of blog posts around the internet, but they don’t necessarily have anything to do with the content.
Search engines often ignore stop words, in both search queries and in results, there is an actual list of stop words that are filtered out during a search, this to optimize some other aspects of the search.
For example, in a search of a regular user, the introduction is a sentence grammatically correct and with several elements as parts of speech in it, the result in the SERP seem to have left out most of the words of the sentence, they are, of course, necessary to form a correct sentence, but from the search engine’s perspective though, they are fluff and do not influence the search results being displayed.
What is the behavior of stop words in Google?
There are many stop words in a search, or in thousands of them at a time, may cause lags in load times, and also a level of ambiguity in the search results, all of it resulting in wrong information being showed up. At the time of eliminating stop words from their databases, SERPs are able to provide faster and a lot more accurate results for their users.
To put it small, a good example would be, a person runs a search for “a carpenter in New Jersey”, the words “a” and “in” do not change the meaning of the rest of the words that were introduced, then google would leave them out and provide “carpenter New Jersey” results instead.
Some users introduce complete sentences like “What is the best bakery in London?”, after logarithms filter the necessary words, the search engine shows “best bakery London”, providing the expected results, but without putting in as much work to generate them for the user.
SERPs, do they ignore Google stop words?
Yes, it seems like we are talking about a person, but this is something that may cause many problems to search engines at the moment of ranking a page, 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 comes up faster, saving a lot of time when ignoring these beautifying stop words.
Well, they are stop words, but they have meaningful moments
Sometimes stop words are actually making phrases or sentences different, in such cases the search engines in their best algorithms consider them, interpreting the meaning of the search query by looking at the words along the main keyword.
This as complicated as may sound is as simple as this: take a look at this two elements that may be entered by a user “Matrix” and “The matrix” in a search query, one is a math concept and the other is a motion picture. In this example the word “the” is clearly the stop word. In the search, an algorithm would consider the stop word in the results, because without it, the meaning would be completely different.
On SEO performances and procedures these things must be considered, so a website, page, or platform can be shown as the users are trying to reach them and they don’t end up being returned irrelevant results for some search queries, which would mean that the search engine were ignoring stop words when they were actually necessary.
Now comes the serious part…. Stop words according to the experts
Many SEO experts suggest that it is better to remove stop words from a Blog post URL, Blog post title, and/or contents, focusing on effective keywords, even Yoast plugins follow this affirmation. Their argument is that including stop words lowers the ranking of some online element in SERPs.
Now, would stop words hurt SEO? That is not completely true. Any good search engine has the purpose of enhancing the users’ experience, and filtering out stop words could, in a huge percentage, spoil the users’ experience.
Stop words are necessary to be grammatically correct and beautify sentences, they complete meaning to the sentences. Search engines today are becoming smarter discouraging the idea that stop words are completely bad, when actually avoiding them completely would be unnatural and bad for the pages and users.
A little exercise to sum up
If you are trying to perform some effective SEO, search for the keywords or titles of the site or blog, first with and then without the stop words, if the results are different in both the cases, then it is clear that Google is considering the stop words.
So, it makes sense for you to retain stop words in your title. Stop words do not hurt SEO, their excessive usage does. Make a good use of general words 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.