Stopwords. You wonder what the name denotes, right?
Simple! Stopwords are the words which are given the least importance by the search engines while turning up the related results for the user. Examples are ‘a’, ‘an’, ‘the’, ‘as’, ‘is’, ‘of’, ‘many’, etc.
Mostly, in the body of the blog posts currently present in the web, almost 25% of the content is occupied by such Stopwords. The search engines maintain a list of stopwords which are carefully avoided though they are mentioned in the user’s query typed in the search bar.
Reason for filtering stopwords
In most cases, these stopwords are in no way related to the process of extracting results from the web. They often cause ambiguity and cause a hell lot of server load problems. So obviously, avoiding them seems to be the most likely solution for enhanced performance of search engines.
For instance, the user enters “What is the main reason for acne?” it would rank only as “Reason for acne”. The unnecessary stopwords here are “what is the main”. Search engines cut down such stopwords for enhanced performance and better data retrieval.
Exceptional cases when stopwords are untouched
There are some specific instances when stopwords are kept the way it is. Search engines preserve stopwords when it identifies a substantial change in the meaning of the phrase, if the words be ignored. The search engine compares the two sets of results obtained by keeping the stopwords and the other by deleting them. There could be two cases,
i.) If the results match, the query with stopwords is neglected.
ii.) Else if they differ, the results of both the queries are unified.
Effect of stopwords in SEO
Most of the SEO experts and tutorials generally advise to avoid using stopwords in the title of a website, in its URL and in the main keywords. They say so, because they presume that the presence of stopwords may adversely affect the ranking of the websites or the blogs in Internet.
But it is not entirely correct! In most cases, avoiding stopwords makes no difference to the searching process. Infact, including them is the right thing to do at times! It makes the search query look presentable and grammatically legible.
Usage of stopwords does not hurt the retrieval of results from search engines, provided it is not used too much. But, it is best to avoid using stopwords in the URL and main title of the website or blog!