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Keyword order and ranking

     
10:39 am on Apr 10, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Hello,

I noticed that on a 3 terms keywords let's say " vanilla cookies NY " I rank 1 st but for " NY vanilla cookies " I rank 5 th and for "cookies NY vanilla " I rank 3 rd.

Why is that ? How can I rank 1 st for the 3 keywords ?

Thank you,
11:17 am on Apr 10, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I think it boils down to Google trying to figure out the intent/context of your search.

"polish furniture" and "furniture polish" should have two different sets of results, for example. One is furniture from Poland, the other is about keeping furniture shiny.

It does seem Google gets a touch carried away IMHO trying to guess what people are looking for, rather than just looking at what they've actually typed.
5:39 am on Apr 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Exact or close matches between queries and word order in your page content, titles, and backlinks used to affect rankings more than they do now, as Google has added many other factors besides keyword matches to the mix.

That said, I still very often seen instances of word order in these areas affecting what a page can rank for, particularly on searches where you're not dealing with massively competitive terms. It's very difficult to cover all possibilities onpage, I should note, and trying to build backlinks to cover the matches that you're missing is very likely to backfire.

It's almost impossible to generalize about this, by the way, because there are many combinations of factors that might put one page above another.

I'd say that pages with the most authority for your core terms... in your example "vanilla cookies"... are going to rank for the largest combination of modifiers. Content on your page beyond your keywords also becomes more important as Google increasingly looks at content conceptually rather than just as text strings.

As Bones says, the intent of the query also has become a larger factor.
9:45 am on Apr 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

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From what I understand it depends on the words you put in your content. Don't put those next to each other if you want to rank on a specific keyword and if you have a few links with the exact keyword that is better ?

Do I summarize it correctly ?
12:39 pm on Apr 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

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No, it's a lot more complicated than that now.

First of all - are you really the best result for all the versions of the keyword? Bones mentioned furniture polish and polish furniture - actually, there's three different intents there - furniture polish which is a commercial product, polish furniture (furniture from/in Poland) and polish furniture as an action - to polish one's furniture. Google has to figure out what exactly the user wants, and then figure out if you're the best source. Frankly, if you're on the first page for all three sort orders, you're probably doing pretty well.
1:13 pm on Apr 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

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are you really the best result for all the versions of the keyword


Exactly. What I noticed is that when a site is very strong for a particular meaning, then you can turn the words in the phrase around and the site will still come up first and it also comes forst for plurals/singulars etc.

This is hard to achieve in a competitive niche but can be achieved in a small niche.
 

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