Copyright 2006 Mark Nenadic
You may have heard of black holes – not the astronomical kind – but don’t know what they are or how to use them to your advantage when it comes to your site and the major search engines such as Google, Yahoo!, and MSN. To begin with, it is important that you understand that black holes in search engines can seriously impact the quality of all of your search engine optimization (SEO) strategies.
For example, Google is currently the leader in both popularity and technology among search engines on the web. It functions by allowing its users to run a search using words or phrases. This will only happen more frequently as text-to-speech applications expand in their use. The way in which Google applies these words and phrases immediately presents the first fault within their indexing and searching strategies. Here, there lies a big black hole in the accuracy of the search results that Google produces. The location of this black hole? Whenever smaller, common words are used within a Google search phrase, it will provide you with different results than you would receive by using other common words instead. The following example explains this.
If you perform the following searches:
* Toronto Hotels
* Hotels in Toronto
* Hotels for Toronto
* About Toronto Hotels
You will receive different results every time. Though Google will indicate to you that you have used a common word, and that this word was excluded from the search, it will still have provided you with different search results depending on which ones you have used.
Obviously, all of the above searches were for the same thing, but because of the small words used in the phrases, they achieved different results. Why? It is because of the black hole in Google’s searching algorithm
The same is true when one changes the words from singular to plural, or otherwise makes grammatical changes. For example, the following searches all produce different results:
* Debt management
* Managing debt
* Managing debts
Again, these searches are obviously for the same things, but produced entirely different results. Try these two examples on your own computer, using Google, and you’ll see for yourself.
It is important to recognize that in both examples, all of the searches produced relevant results. However, while they are all equally correct as far as context, the fact remains that searches for the same thing, depending on how they’re worded – right down to the pluralizing – does give different lists, with differently ranked sites.
How does this impact you and your SEO? Consider you are running a website that sells widgets. You have done a great deal of work making certain that it is fully search engine optimized and have even reached the point where you are in the second rank at Google for the keyword “widget”. It has taken a great deal of work and maintenance, but you’ve done it…except that your target market doesn’t search for widgets using the keyword “widget”. They pluralize their search term, typing “widgets” in almost universally. Furthermore, when you check your rank with the term “widgets”, then you discover that you’re down at number 23!
Though your work will bring you increased traffic due to your ranking for “widget”, it would have been a great deal higher if you’d included “widgets” in your search engine optimizing strategy.
When you are creating a search engine optimizing strategy for your website, if you want to ensure that you will receive the highest results, it is important that you always include not only your primary keyword in your efforts, but also add a basket full of sub-keywords to cover all of your bases.
By making certain that you are using your phrases in all (or at least many ) of the ways in which your target market will be performing their searches, you will bring in a great deal more traffic, and customers ready to purchase your products or services.
If you are not qualified to do this alone, it is well worth the investment in an expert who can bring your search engine optimization up to a level that will cover all of your most important keywords.