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"Ignored" words matter?

'What are widgets' vs 'widgets'

     
9:19 pm on May 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

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If I search for 'widgets', my site is #4. If I search for 'what are widgets', my site is #3, even though Google says "what" and "are" were ignored due to being very common. I can replace "what are" with any combination of ignored words, even the Spanish ignored word "en", and my site is still #3. What's going on?
10:09 pm on May 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I've noticed this too when search for "shopping for widgets" google says the for is ignored, but "shopping widgets" is totally different results! Maybe this will be fixed when the backlinks are gradually added ;)
10:21 pm on May 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Hi

This has always been the case.... word proximity.

Google looks for "shopping - anyword- widgets" or "shopping widgets" so two different results.

10:23 pm on May 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

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One of many threads that addresses this is [webmasterworld.com...]
It starts with singular vs plural, but staring with msg 7 shifts to stop words. Note especially ciml's post (msg # 9)
10:29 pm on May 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

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One of the things the algorithm assesses is the location of words on the page. Things can be weighted a bit differently if the main words in the query are directly next to each other or separated by something. A common word might be ignored for content purposes, but it would still have an effect on the location and spacing of other words. This likely accounts for the ranking variations that you're seeing.
11:21 am on May 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

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But unlike in the thread Mohamed_E linked to, I'm seeing this with a one-word query 'widgets' vs a three-word query 'what are widgets'. ('widgets' is a plural noun that starts with a 'B'.)
4:28 am on May 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

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So do a search for "in the widgets" "what the widget" the in widget" and see what happens. That might be a useful way to test what happens.