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What are Stop Words?

by | 29 Jun, 2022

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What is A Slug In SEO?

A slug is a keyword-rich URL that is used to identify a web page.

What is a Web Crawler?

A web crawler, also known as a spider, is a program that visits websites and scrapes data: the content and the HTML structure.

What Is A/B Testing In SEO?

A/B testing in SEO, or “split testing”, is a process of making two versions of the same content, showing them to the same audience segment, and comparing their performance.

What is Amazon SEO?

Amazon SEO is a combination of optimization strategies that help your product listing rank higher on Amazon search results pages.

What is an SEO Title Tag?

An SEO title tag is a concise description of your content made from relevant keywords.

What is Anchor Text In SEO?

Anchor text is the visible, clickable text in a hyperlink. Other names for anchor text include link title, link text, and link label.

What is Black Hat SEO?

Black Hat refers to SEO practices that are against Google’s terms of service.

Stop words are words that are typically ignored by search engines when indexing web pages for relevancy. They are also known as filler words (extremely common words), and they usually don’t have any semantic value – existing only to make content grammatically correct.

Some examples of common SEO stop words include:

  • a
  • an
  • am
  • at
  • the
  • or
  • and
  • but
  • of
  • in
  • to
  • about
  • actually
  • almost
  • also
  • although
  • became
  • become
  • can
  • could
  • did
  • do
  • does
  • with
  • without
  • he’d, he’ll, he’s, he
  • she, she’d, she’ll, she’s

These articles, prepositions, and phrases are important for creating complete, meaningful sentences for us humans. However, historically, they weren’t important in indexing your website by web crawlers.

Are Stop Words Beneficial for SEO?

Stop words are helpful for the reader.

For example, ‘each,’ ‘every,’ and so on were written to help readers understand the subject matter. In titles and subheaders without stop words, it can be difficult to comprehend what is being talked about. Having stop words in the metadata makes it more understandable and increases Click Thorugh Rate.

Some argue that using lots of stop words on your page can be detrimental to your SEO, as “stop words can dilute the keyword density of a page”.

I disagree.

Historically, stop words got ignored by the web crawlers. So besides crawlers having to do one more step of deleting them when indexing your page, the benefits of having a text that is human-readable outweighs having robots do this one simple task.

Besides, Google is now using AI software to understand the content of the page. And to my understanding, AI does look at stop words to find meaningful relations between words.

How to Use Stop Words in SEO

If you want to use stop words in your page titles and tags, do so if it makes sense.

For example, “The Best Cat Food brands of 2020″ is a title that uses a stop word, but it makes sense in this context. On the other hand, “Choosing Best Cat Food” is a title that doesn’t use a stop word, but it still makes sense.

The bottom line is that you should use stop words in a way that helps the reader understand your content better.

Why Are Stop Words Important In SEO?

Stop words help connect your keywords together to create a complete sentence that can be read by both people and other search engines (AI software).

By breaking up longer, keyword-stuffed sentences into shorter, more readable ones, stop words make it easier for people to digest your content and understand what you’re trying to say.

Use stop words to connect your keywords together

By stringing together a series of keywords with stop words, you can create a sentence that is both keywords-rich and readable.

Use stop words to improve the readability of your content

As we mentioned before, stop words can help to break up longer, keyword-stuffed sentences into shorter, more digestible ones. Make sure that you’re using stop words in a way that makes sense and doesn’t disrupt the flow of your sentence.

Use stop words to give your content more context

Stop words can be a great way to provide more context for your content. When used properly, they can help to explain what your content is about and why it’s relevant to the reader.

Keep in mind, however, that too many stop words can be a bad thing. In addition to making your content more difficult to read, an overabundance of stop words can also make it harder for search engines to understand what your content is about.

As with anything, moderation is key. Use stop words when they’re truly needed.

Removing Stop Words

Should you be getting rid of all of your content’s stop words?

It depends on how you’re using them. Titles, headers, and URL slugs are better off being short and snappy. In these cases, I suggest deleting stop words

SEO Stop Words in Titles

If your titles don’t make sense when removed from those articles or prepositions, it’s best to leave them alone. After all, you want your readers to understand what you’re saying.

If the most noticeable elements—especially the title—are meaningless, the website may appear unprofessional or even spammy.

It’s generally best to keep stop words in titles and headings, as these are wayfinding elements for readers navigating your material. Just bear in mind that the ideal character count for a title is 50-60 characters, as search engines truncate longer titles, which might lose vital information for visitors.

SEO Stop Words in URLs

Don’t include stop words from URLs.

(But if your existing URLs have stop words in them, removing them after publishing can do more harm than good.)

URLs especially benefit from being short.

For example, if you have a page about tennis shoes, there’s no need to stuff your URL full of keywords like “the-best-tennis-shoes-to-wear-this-year”.

Just “tennis-shoes” will do.

SEO Stop Words in Keywords

If you’re using google stop words as part of your keywords, there’s no need to remove them.

In fact, doing so might even hurt your SEO, as you could end up with a keyword that is much less relevant to what people are actually searching for.

For example, let’s say you’re a translator from English to Japanese.

If you’re targeting the keyword “english to japanese translator,” there’s no need to remove the stop word “to” from your keyword. It’s important that your keyword is relevant to what people are searching for.

SEO Stop Words in Content

When it comes to the actual content on your website, there’s no need to eliminate stop words.

In fact, doing so could actually hurt your SEO, as you could end up with content that isn’t readable.

Mihael D. Cacic
“Digital Marketing Mad Scientist”

Physicist turned SEO Content Marketer. For the past few years, Mihael worked with many big SaaS and service businesses helping them rank higher and get more customers. Now here to share his secrets on how to make hyper-profitable blogs in hyper-efficient ways.

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