Google has announced a major change in the way that they handle search results by including synonyms for some words that may be used in queries. How does this affect the position of your web pages in Google’s search results?
Why is it important that Google can deal with synonyms?
Google aims to display the best results for your search. For that reason, it is important that Google’s algorithm understands the words that are used in the search query. An important part of understanding the words is to understand synonyms.
Synonyms are words that can mean the same thing, for example “pictures” and “photos”. People searching for “sunset pictures” are probably also interested in web pages that contain the words “sunset photos”.
A problem is that words that can have different meanings. For example, the word “case” can mean “occurrence”, “instance” or “example”. It can also mean “box” or “container”.
The word “guitar box” might be a synonym for “guitar case” but “O.J. Simpson box” is not a synonym for “O.J. Simpson case”. Google’s measurements show that synonyms affect 70 percent of user searches across the more than 100 languages Google supports.
What has changed?
According to the posting in Google’s official blog, Google has improved the way that they detect synonyms. For example, the algorithm can now find 20 possible meanings of the search term “GM”.
GM can mean General Motors, George Mason in [gm university], gamemaster in [gm screen star wars], Gangadhar Meher in [gm college], general manager in [nba gm] and even gunners mate in [navy gm], etc.
Google also made a change to how the synonyms are displayed. The searched words and the synonyms are now displayed in bold in the search results. Web pages that contain only synonyms of the searched word can also be displayed in the search results.
Do you have to change your web pages?
Yes, you do have to optimize your pages as little more to let Google know the synonyms of the targeted keywords. It’s not necessary ton stuff them on the tags or contents as they’ll be picked up automatically. Below are some quick tips on that.
1. Think out of the box.
Don’t just use the technical terms that you use in your company. Think about the words that other people would use to describe your product. For example, don’t just use “rhinoplasty” but also “nose job” and “nose surgery”.
Google’s Keyword Tool might come handy to find the synonyms of the targeted keywords.
2. Optimize different pages of your website for different keywords.
The more pages you optimize, the better. It is much better if one web page is highly relevant to one key-phrase than somewhat relevant to many key-phrases.
Don’t stuff a single page with keywords. The keywords should fit naturally in your web page content.
Different people use different words to find the same things. Use different ways to talk about your website topic and optimize as many pages as possible of your website.
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