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How Does Stemming Work in Google?

What is it exactly?

   
1:34 am on Jan 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I have been reading through this forum and have heard a lot about stemming. From what I can tell this means adding or taking away the s from the plural of your keywords?

Could someone maybe explain what the exact percieved benefits of trying this are, and to be clear is "keyword" or "keywords" more optimized? will "keyword" show up for a "keywords" search?

thanks.

3:06 am on Jan 9, 2004 (gmt 0)



From Google

Word Variations (Stemming)
Google now uses stemming technology. Thus, when appropriate, it will search not only for your search terms, but also for words that are similar to some or all of those terms. If you search for "pet lemur dietary needs", Google will also search for "pet lemur diet needs", and other related variations of your terms. Any variants of your terms that were searched for will be highlighted in the snippet of text accompanying each result.
3:10 am on Jan 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member googleguy is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



Stemming is searching for variants of words. If someone searches for cert advisory, for example, we can't return the home page of CERT, even though that page only has the word advisories on it. Seems that CERT almost always uses "advisories" (plural) on their pages, so a naive user typing advisory gets some help because we search for both advisory and advisories. Stemming is relatively SEO-neutral, but it can help users a lot.
3:58 am on Jan 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



GoogleGuy wrote:

Stemming is relatively SEO-neutral, but it can help users a lot

Which naturally begs the question: Why has Google only just started using stemming?

Assuming my memory is correct, that I read on WW other SE's have used/use it ;)

4:11 am on Jan 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



I wish I had taken a screen shot of the page on Google's site that talked about why they did NOT use stemming (before this change). I can't remember the exact wording, but it clearly stated that they did not use stemming because doing so would result in less accurate results being returned. Does anyone remember more closely what it used to say? In any case, one day Google hated the idea of stemming, and the next day, its the greatest thing.

edit: i found a site that had the old wording still on one of their pages. it said...

To provide the most accurate results, Google does not use "stemming" or support "wildcard" searches. Rather, Google searches for exactly the words that you enter into the search box.

[edited by: dazzlindonna at 4:16 am (utc) on Jan. 9, 2004]

4:13 am on Jan 9, 2004 (gmt 0)



In any case, one day Google hated the idea of stemming, and the next day, its the greatest thing.

Good sign (IMO) that Google is forever moving forward and not afraid to 'step outside the box'.

1:03 am on Jan 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Google hasn't stepped outside the box. They've just got a slightly larger box to play around in.
1:25 am on Jan 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Or Google decided to start using Teoma's search box.
6:53 pm on Jan 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I optimized my page for "old blue rare widgets" (plural).

In Google I am #1 for "old blue rare widget" (singular), but nowhere to be found for "old blue rare widgets".

The title of my page is "old blue rare widgets", with plenty of supporting text.

Wouldn't stemming make my rank for these terms be the same? At least, I should rank higher for the plural version.

Thanks.

7:28 pm on Jan 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



So, does this mean I should make sure all keywords in my meta tags are plural so my pages show up for both singular and plural form of these keywords?
8:57 pm on Jan 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



LATENT SEMANTIC INDEXING [javelina.cet.middlebury.edu]theory includes things like semantic and stemming . I have posted a topic about it last week but no reaction.