Stop words vs. filter words and SEO
Is there a difference between a stop word and a filter word?
I have to admit that this is one of the most frequent questions I get
from readers of the book. I hope this answer will clear everything up.
I do not understand the difference between stop
words and filter words. Can you explain the difference more clearly?
99.99% of the time, the phrases "stop words" and "filter
words" are synonyms.
Filter words are common words (a, an, of, or, and, the)
that the search engines ignore during a search. Search engines filter
out these words because using these words in a search query can slow down
the retrieval of search results without improving accuracy.
It's really easy to figure out some of the major filter words. For example,
if you type in the phrase "the taming of the shrew" (without
the quotation marks) in Google, you'll notice that the words "the"
and "of" are ignored. Those are filter words. They are also
called stop words.
Now to the tricky part. As I stated previously, most of the time, stop
words and filter words have the same meaning. The one exception is the
adult industry. Because I don't want this page showing up in SERPs (search
engine results pages) for the following stop words, let's just say these words
rhyme with cluck, bit, punt, class, etc.
I hope you get the idea.
The search engines will automatically stop recording the words on a web
page when they see stop words. Now suppose these stop words are used on
web pages about Barney the Dinosaur or on a page about Disney cartoon
characters or a Minion, pages clearly written for children. Wouldn't that be a good
reason to stop?
So if your site is not in the adult industry, just remember that "stop
words" and "filter words" have the same meaning.
This article originally appeared in WebProNews and has been updated by author Shari Thurow since its original publication. If you would like permission to publish this article for your online newsletter, blog, or web site, please fill out our contact form or call us at 847-426-4256.
Shari Thurow is the Founder and SEO Director at Omni Marketing Interactive, a full-service search engine optimization (SEO), web site usability, information architecture (IA), and web design firm. She is also the co-author of the book, When Search Meets Web Usability.
For more information about our search engine optimization, search usability training, and site design services, please fill out our contact form or call us at 847-426-4256.