Google: Stop Worrying About Stop Words Just Write Naturally

Feb 16, 2021 - 7:51 am 3 by

Google Stop Words

A couple of weeks ago, the SEO industry couldn't stop talking about stop words. SEMrush posted a list of "SEO stop words" and the community began buzzing. John Mueller of Google even responding saying on Twitter "I wouldn't worry about stop words at all; write naturally."

In computing, stop words are words which are filtered out before or after processing of natural language data. But Google and other search engines are way smarter these days around stop words. In fact, I doubt they even filter them out, they probably use them to better understand the sentence meaning. We heard Google talk about this with RankBrain, BERT and other natural language processing techniques over the years. Google themselves in 2008 stopped displaying stop word notifications in the search results, where Google would tell the searcher it ignored certain stop words because hey, maybe Google didn't ignore them as part of your query anymore. Here is a screen shot I posted on Search Engine Land of how Google displayed these stop words in the search results:

Google On Stop Words

As John Mueller of Google said "I wouldn't worry about stop words at all; write naturally. Search engines look at much, much more than individual words. "To be or not to be" just is a collection of stop words, but stop words alone don't do it any justice."

I agree with this. I mean, it is 2021.

I agree with Bill and Dawn, I am sure Google uses the words and no longer simply ignores them anymore. So they are likely not "stop" words anymore.

Forum discussion at Twitter.


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