Cease! Desist! Who goes there? Halt! Heel! Yield! No! Time’s up!
These are all examples of stop words. However, they are not the stop words we’re going to talk about in this article – mostly because there’s not a lot to say about them. When it comes to SEO, however, stop words become a lot more interesting. So let’s go!
What Are Stop Words?
Stop words are the connective tissue of search engine optimisation. They’re all the little words in between the important stuff: the ‘in’s, ‘and’s, ‘at’s and ‘on’s. They don’t affect the content of a search engine query; they’re just used to give the search term sound syntax.
Here’s an example: ‘Hire photographer London’ vs. ‘Hire a photographer in London’.
The clinical AI is going to give you the same result no matter which one you use – but stop words have some human advantages.
How To Use Stop Words In Keywords
When it comes to your site’s SEO strategy, you’ll need stop words in there to make your long-tail keywords make grammatical sense, and not look like obviously placed long-tail keywords.
However, many people are terrified of stop words, believing that they’ll negatively affect their ranking and so they sacrifice syntax for SEO peace of mind. But is this the right thing to do?
Do Stop Words Count In SEO?
Stop not using stop words – what are stop words? – in long-tail keywords! First off, bad grammar is going to make your copy look hackish (see previous sentence) and your keywords obvious – not good for anyone. Secondly, stop words are fine to use as long as you don’t go over the top. Secondly, stop words are fine to use as long as you don’t go over the top. SEMRush has a great article on the ins-and-outs of this. Essentially, the conclusion is that a few stop words won’t hurt your SEO, and they’ll keep your copy flowing naturally and professionally.
It all comes down to user experience. You want to give your audience the best possible time on your site without giving them a reason to click away. Google actually places a high value on user experience (even more so in 2021) and won’t look kindly on you jarring your poor unsuspecting readers with bad grammar.
Putting your users first at all times is the always the best option for solid, effective SEO. It will also flow naturally into being the best option for search engines.
Strategically and organically filling your copy with keywords is an art form in and of itself. Not everyone is going to have the faculties to pull it off smoothly or optimally – and you know what? That’s okay. It’s why outsourcing exists. You don’t have to go through it alone! Hire someone who knows what they’re doing and you’ll soon be turning your ‘stop’s to ‘go’s.
SEO In 2021: What Does Google Have In Store For Content Creators?
Centre image by Kai Pilger on Unsplash