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A Word about Stop Words

More and more people are requesting articles be written with locations attached to their keyword.  Obviously, this makes sense because they want their sites to come up in the search engines when someone local searches for their service.  For instance, if I’m looking for a plumber in Amarillo, I would search “plumber Amarillo” and expect to get a list of local plumbing companies and it only makes sense that I would pay more attention to the first few that come up in the search results.

However “plumber Amarillo” is an interesting keyword phrase. Is it not? But, the question often arises as to how you write content around a keyword such as “plumber Amarillo,” “electrician Atlanta” or “B&B Belfast.”  How do you work with these strange phrases? The answer is stop words.

What is a stop word? Stop words are common words that search engines don’t recognize in order to save space and to speed up search results. WebConfs.com has a great list of stop words.  There’s so many of them, but just a few include:

  • In
  • Or
  • Do
  • Has
  • Is
  • It
  • The

Basically, stop words are those words that you just use in everyday language to tie your sentences together so that they make sense and are grammatically correct. There’s even longer words than these that are considered stop words, like:

  • Nevertheless
  • Specifying
  • Themselves
  • Therefore
  • Somewhere
  • Whenever
  • Welcome
  • Yourselves
  • Whomever
  • Wonder

Even punctuation falls under this category of unrecognized characters.  So, if you can end a sentence with “electrician” and start the next sentence with “Amarillo” then the search engines will read it as “electrician Amarillo.”  This allows the writer to be much more creative in how they work in the keywords that are required to be used without affecting the quality of the content. In many cases, a creative writer can use keywords in this manner and the reader doesn’t even pick up the phrase as a “keyword” in their mind.  This is a sign of a creative and quality writer.

So, the next time you get a batch of articles and your keywords have stop words between them, don’t be alarmed. The keyword phrases will still be picked up by the search engines and the content will read with quality instead of looking like someone who doesn’t know English wrote them.

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