Is Google changing the way they handle stop words?
 by Casey Markee

Is Google changing the way they handle stop words?

  • I was reading somewhere that Google may be doing away with filtering stop words (short words like a, in, or of) and actually changing their results to better reflect the stop words represented in title tags on websites. My question is, will including words like in and of now increase a title tag's power in Google (i.e. Vacation in New Mexico) more than it did in the past?

Answer: Google did make some changes on this very issue towards the end of January. In the past, Google searches involving stop words (including a, and, is, on, of, or, the, was, and with) would return a notice below the search that would say:

your search contains a very common word and was not included in your search

However, just recently, Google searches involving stop words stopped giving this message. It isn't clear whether this means that Google is no longer ignoring stop words. It's possible that they have only ceased telling the searcher that stop words are being ignored.

Regardless, we think it's good SEO to use stop words when writing page titles whenever it makes sense to do so. This is especially true if your keyword research shows that more people are searching for Vacation in New Mexico rather than just Vacation New Mexico.

Besides, this is the way that people naturally speak and write. And we all know that Google likes natural.


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