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Don’t Stop Using Stop Words

There are still some SEO (search engine optimization) myths out there. One is to not include “stop words” in your keyword optimization strategy. From our own research this can’t be farther from the truth.

Stop words…what’s that? Stop words are words that are very common in our language: a, is, to, how, the. When you do a search on Google, Google says they don’t include stop words in the search results – too common (If you add quotation marks to your words/phrases, then Google will include stop words in your results).

Our Own Research Indicates to Include Stop Words

Ask Jeeves includes them; displaying them in bold. Yahoo definitely pays attention to most stop words. It doesn’t look like MSN does though. The simplest test is to add stop words to your copy, perform a search with them – and without them – and see where your page is positioned in the results.

In essence, don’t think that not including stop words will get you higher. If it’s basic to our common speak, it’s good to keep them in. Remember, design websites for humans first, search engines second. We all use stop words when speaking or writing, so why wouldn’t the search engines.

Though Google may not index stop words (without quotes), other search engines do. And although Google may be #1 and the most popular, you cannot afford to leave the other engines out of your optimization campaign.

Mike Swartz says, “Check it out.”

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