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"in" is a very common word and was not included in your search
So why are the results different?!

 10:44 am on Aug 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

I'm sure you've all noticed if you search for foo1 foo2 you get a different set of results to foo1 in foo2.

I guess this applies to other joining words as well.

Point is if it isn't included why the different results and what's the logic behind the different results (or ho do I take this into account)?



 11:02 am on Aug 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

Look at the proximity factor. In one case the two words are right next to each other as an exact phrase, and in the other case they're separated by another word, even if it's such a common one. Try both searches in quotes and see the difference.

word order and proximity

"of" is a very common word, but there's a difference between "pork loin" and "loin of pork"

Think about something very unlikely:

fairbanks swimming pools
swimming pools fairbanks
swimming pools in fairbanks

See? Then there's plural and singular differences - any number of possible combinations with any phrase. Try it out on some more likely search terms and make comparisons. Also check for frequenty in page titles all different ways and see the difference in results.

More than you asked for, but it's fascinating.


 11:10 am on Aug 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

Last time I checked

keyword1 of keyword2
keyword1 in keyword2
keyword1 to keyword2

... showed the same results.

ie Google sees the search as :

keyword1 stopword keyword2


 4:15 pm on Aug 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

I have a search that shows e.g. #1 for widgets Boston, but not on first page for widgets in Boston.

Curious that!


 4:49 pm on Aug 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

It definately is the proximity factor that gives you the different results.

I actually optimise for keyword1 extra-keyword keyword2 simply because my site is location specific, so many people will be looking for something like widgets in Albania so if I want to score well on that phrase why waste a stopword? I get the same effect with optimising for widgets guide Albania.
That way I still score on the widgets in albania search and also score on widgets guide.


 6:53 pm on Aug 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

This been going on for a long time. I'm surprised that very few have noticed this.

It's like doing SEO for 'How can I...widget1 widget2'. Widget1 and widget2 are the target keywords but in a competitive area, if you have the stop words; how, i, can, in, etc... in your Title or H1, there's a slight boost in ranking when the searchers uses a natural query as compared to a query 'widget1 widget2'.

Supposedly, Google would return the same serp but there's always a slight change in ranking. A good strategy if your site is coming up say #8 of keywords 'widget1 widget2'.


 7:33 pm on Aug 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

I like what you suggested and will be giving a go over the next couple of weeks.
Thanks fo that


 8:07 pm on Aug 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

why waste a stopword?

Because a site optimised for 'information guide widgets' does not rank the same as a site optimised for 'information on widgets'.

If you want to get found for 'information on widgets' you need to optimise for it. The site will then rank the same for 'information stopword widgets'.

A search for 'information on widgets' shows the same SERP as 'information about widgets'.

A search 'information guide widgets' shows a different SERP completely.

Unless I have missed something.


 11:26 pm on Aug 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

what I am referring to is the scenario when the user enters:
information on widget

google will then give the pages with title:
information on widget
information for widget
information at widget
information guide widget
information laughable widget
information anyword widget
etc. the same relevance. This does not seem to have to do with the fact that the word in between is a stop word but simply that there is a word in between, thus directly linked with the proximity filter.
I stumbled across this looking at my logs one day realising that loads of people were coming into my site on widgets in AlxLand and I had not seoed for that. That is when I realised that my page title: widgets incorporated AlxLand was scoring the same as if it were widgets in AlxLand.

so a bit of tweaking and now with my new title:
widgets guide AlxLand
I score not only on all the searches where google drops the stop word, but ALSO on the searches for widgets guide and guide AlxLand. getting in the extra keyword and taking into account that my user base tends to have a stopword inbetween my two main keywords.

I also have noticed that once google drops the stop word and gives the proximity filter the control that the order of the keywords loses some significance. not totally, but if SEOed for keyword1 x keyword2, then keyword2 x keyword1 will not do too badly either.

the perfect title I found is:
widgets guide AlxLand¦Widgets for all tastes

that way I get good rankings for:
widgets in AlxLand
AlxLand widgets
widgets guide AlxLand

But this is extremely specific to my sector (travel guides).
You might want to think of other words to use to fill in the stop word space. Just remember, you won't score quite as nice on keyword1 keyword2. but with the right amount of thought going into your title and repeating (to a minimal extent possible) your primary KW you should still score well on two word searches.


 11:40 pm on Aug 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

Because a site optimised for 'information guide widgets' does not rank the same as a site optimised for 'information on widgets'.

No, it does!
That is exactly what I am saying. I could be totally wrong of course, but in my past experience I have found that a site opimised for informaiton guide widgets will score exactly the same as information on widgets if the search entered into google is of the form: information stopword widgets.

of course if the user enterd informaiton guide widgets a totally different SERP will turn up but that is the good thing, as we also come up on that page too!

the only benefit I can see in optimising a page for "information on widgets" is if you want to score well on that search term with the quotation marks explicitly included in the search.


 4:59 am on Aug 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

I cannot see why the results should differ?

Googles states:

"in" is a very common word and was not included in your search"

the Details on this reads:

"Google ignores common words and characters such as "where" and "how", as well as certain single digits and single letters, because they tend to slow down your search without improving the results. Google will indicate if a common word has been excluded by displaying details on the results page below the search box."

If Google truly ignorescommon words the results would be the same? The fact that they are different must mean common words are NOT ingnored.



 7:26 am on Aug 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

If Google truly ignorescommon words the results would be the same? The fact that they are different must mean common words are NOT ingnored.

Common words are simply replaced by a wild card, i.e. 'keyword1 commonword keyword2' is replaced by 'keyword1 * keyword2'. However, (as already explained in detail) this is not the same as 'keyword1 keyword2'


 7:50 am on Aug 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

Arh ok, that makes sense then. Never saw any mention of this in the thread until now?

Google certainly doesn't state this though and there explanation is not true, as the common word is replaced and not ignored.

Google ignores common words and characters such as "where" and "how", as well as certain single digits and single letters, because they tend to slow down your search without improving the results

Surely a wildcard would be slower than any common word?



 10:03 am on Aug 18, 2003 (gmt 0)


Last time I checked, a page targeting 'information on widgets' will beat your 'information guide widgets' for any search that is 'information stopword widgets'.

Have you got hard evidence to the contrary?

I did some extensive research on this some time ago - let me know if you have proof that it is different now.


 3:33 pm on Aug 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

This is what I understood from Alxdean's initial observation:

_Instead_ having one's title be:

Information on Widgets

which captures the searches of form:

keyword1 stopword keyword2,

you would get more traffic by titling a page:

Keyword1 keyword3 keyword2

which would capture these searches:

keyword1 keyword3
keyword1 stopword keyword2
keyword3 keyword2.

Thanks, Alxdean, I'll add this to my list of things to remember while doing SEO.


 8:11 pm on Aug 18, 2003 (gmt 0)


I understood the point well enough.

My observation was different.

I enquiring as to whether there was any specific proof of the theory.

I am happy to be proven wrong - but my last research seemed to contradict the theory made by alxdean.

Not spoiling for a fight - just requesting more data.


 9:02 pm on Aug 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

4eyes, I could not give exact proof, as It was a phenomena that I noticed on the fly, looked into and my efforts proved me well.
Now if a competitor should concentrate his efforts on informaiton on widgets, would he beat me. well, to say the honest truth I don't know. as none of my competitors are that hard core in their seo tactics.

Fair enough, my statements are not based on reproducable proof. I'll go and do a bit of testing myself, and try out the two versions to make sure I can back up any claims I make.
In the meanwhile let me rephrase:

I have noticed, that if the competition is not fiercely optimising for keyword1 stopword keyword2, you can achieve very good results with optimising for keyword1 anyotherkeyword keyword2 in keyword1 stopword keyword2 SERPS. Giving you the added benefit of scoring well on stopword incusive searches as well as adding the extrakeyword to your basket of keywords you are optimising for.


 5:27 am on Aug 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

"of"...was not included... but "map of usa" returns 3,550,000 and "map usa": 3,530,000. Top 10 serp's are totally different.


 9:17 pm on Aug 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

took me some time to do my research, but using following search terms you can see quite clearly that the search term with a real word inbetween scores close to the one with the stop word.
Also, from the same website there are versions of the page with the stop word instead of "guide", as can be seen in the extra results. That shows that a page with the same PR and similar setup scores equally with stopword or simply a word inbetween.
This all sounds a bit confusing but I hope it makes some sense.

the Keywords for this example are Jobs in Barcelona. the result I am referring too can't be missed, it is th eone with the star.

I know that posting search terms is agains the rules, but I can't figure out any other way of making my point.

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