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Google and Stemming Words
Asking Google for work widget and it shows working widgets

 6:14 pm on Dec 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

There seem to be a better understanding of possible variation of your keywords by including the plural (and in the snipet the whole word is bold not just the singular part) and conjugation (here again the whole word is in bold not just the part tha match the keyword).

I believe, if this came with Florida, that this means new ways of thinking to optimise your pages - no need to focus on kwd kwd anymore but possibility of having kwding and kwords as well.

If it's true this could be a MAJOR advance in the ways search are handled and also partly explain the shifting in the SERP.

What do you guys think?




 7:06 pm on Dec 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

It's relatively new.
Since a short time (< 1 month?) Google now uses stemming to return better results.


 1:43 am on Dec 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

"If it's true this could be a MAJOR advance in the ways search are handled..."

Within the last month or so we've made stemming be more visible, but it's been in a testing mode that's less visible for a while longer. If you like it--great! If you don't like it, you can put a plus sign in front of the word to turn it off, e.g. searching for
cert advisory
returns great results at #1 and #2 from CERT because we can also match against advisories. If you really only want to match the word "advisory" though, you can search for
cert +advisory
and then we'll only match that exact word.



 1:49 am on Dec 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

searching for cert advisory return great results at #1 and #2 from CERT because we can also match against advisories.

That explains alot! Thanks GG!


 8:14 am on Dec 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

GG thanks for your insight.

The fact that I like it or not is not really relevant here, even though I think that it can/will improve the general user experience.

But if you think about it, most people won't know that by using the + sign it will look for the word as exactly typed, and therefore webmasters and SEO should consider 'optimising' their pages for this.

I may be short sighted but I think that it can only improve the quality of the searches by allowing web professional to write less kwds cluttered pages (or at least if won't feel like this anymore).

My 0.02



 8:33 am on Dec 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

This is a major change and in GG's example we see that it isn't just applied to plurals made by adding an 's' to the end.


 9:07 am on Dec 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

If you don't like it, you can put a plus sign in front of the word to turn it off

Well, I don't like it. I have a site about the Middle Ages and I don't want a lot of middle aged visitors ;)


 9:19 am on Dec 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

No need to worry, Hagstrom--that substitution doesn't happen. In general, it's smart enough to avoid most mistakes like turning george bush into george bushes. :)


 11:32 am on Dec 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

Three thoughts

1) If hump == humping and skirt == skirting, etc, then keyword densities on some pages may have changed significantly. Could this be part of the Florida problem?

2) The Google home page is seriously uncluttered - I like it. However, I see no reason some of that empty space cannot be put to good use. How about adding search tips. There could be both rotating and fixed tips. You could put them in a DIV and select whether the DIV is initially visible according to the cookie.

3) I would also like to see a checkbox that switches stemming on and off. The initial setting should be in the cookie but simply checking/clearing the box should not change the initial setting.

Of course, a hidden div may see Google's home page banned - but only by Google - so it doesn't really matter ;)



 11:37 am on Dec 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

is stemming already "quietly" introduced in other languages then english? (german to be more specific), if i may ask you GoogleGuy.


 8:14 am on Dec 6, 2003 (gmt 0)

that is a good question: Will stemming be introduced in other languages?


 10:18 am on Dec 6, 2003 (gmt 0)

Just can't stop wondering if G is becoming some kind of a world wide yellow pages with a touch of FTP.

However and in my humble opinion, I think that they are behaving like perfect tramps.

Just Guessing

 10:40 am on Dec 6, 2003 (gmt 0)

Google's stemming has a long way to go yet.

As GG says, it's implemented individually for each different phrase. For example blue widget finds both blue widget and blue widgets, but red widget finds red widget but not red widgets.

I haven't seen it implemented on a single keyword search - presumably because there's no context to help decide what's relevant.

Once it's fully implemented, it looks like it will be very sophisticated. I'd be very interested to know how they are building the dictionary/phrase book.

In the meantime, keep a close eye on the key phrases important to you.


 12:25 pm on Dec 6, 2003 (gmt 0)

but since the update the keyphrases that are most important to us are not even showing even the top 100
this is one of the hardest algorithms to fathom.



 1:41 pm on Dec 6, 2003 (gmt 0)

I think stemming could come in handy for a lot of searches. I agree that it could help eliminate the need for specific KWD stuffing. It gets hard to get the keyword in x amount of times when what you really want to do is use the KWD in another form.


 5:19 pm on Dec 6, 2003 (gmt 0)

"that is a good question: Will stemming be introduced in other languages?"

That's such a good question that I don't know the answer--but I'll check. I know that we always want to check out if features can be done in different languages; sometimes that harder for some languages, e.g. CJK (Chinese Japanese Korean). But there have also been some non-English language-specific projects (e.g. German) to improve the ability to parse just for that language. As far as why blue widget would trigger and red widget wouldn't--we want to be confident that we're improving a given search before we add in a new feature. wellzy, you're right in that people shouldn't have been stuffing keywords all along, but rather using natural text that regular users would want to read. kaled, we do sometimes offer tips on the search results page, and adding '+' is like the checkbox that turns it off. Meman, welcome to WebMasterWorld! I'm sorry to hear you think Google is behaving like perfect tramps--is that because we introduced new stemming algorithms, or are you refering to algorithmic changes? For what it's worth, there hadn't been any major algorithmic changes for 5-6 months, so I understand the surprise when we introduced new algorithms. Back in the days of the monthly dance, people got used to seeing large changes once a month. Looking toward the future, I expect continuing change as we introduce new signals and algorithms into our ranking. Since we're no longer doing monthly dances, it's more likely that algorithms and changes will just roll out after they're ready and have been tested.


 5:27 pm on Dec 6, 2003 (gmt 0)

Yes what is chim=nese for sex lol!


 5:31 pm on Dec 6, 2003 (gmt 0)

- that post is very much appreciated, thanks. I'm not sure everyone is aware of the implications, but this should really help to reduce a lot of needless concern and worrying. People can get back on track now, added: and cater to their sites and users again (added2: still, i'm not sure each and everyone will make it in time for christmas, if at all - this will take time. That's the backside of the coin, but there's been enough venting of steam to power a city already, facts are so much easier to deal with)

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