Stop Words in SEO: What You Need to Know

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BY Chris Loomis

Back in our school days, we are taught how important it is to use the right articles, conjunctions, prepositions, pronouns, and other parts of speech. Words such as a, an, the, in, on, and so on are crucial when constructing a sentence. But how about when used in typing a keyword in search engines?

Speaking of keywords, it is important to know the right keywords that will increase site traffic through quality content. At the same time, such content can help establish you as a trustworthy brand and eventually lead to a purchase. An effective SEO strategy is vital to achieving your marketing goals. You can hire an SEO expert to help you with your digital content needs.

There is also such a thing as stop words. Some examples include the articles and prepositions mentioned above, as well as pronouns, and conjunctions. Here’s what you need to know about stop words and how they can affect search results. 


All about stop words 

It is said that a man named Hans Peter Luhn first coined this term. Stop words, when typed with keywords on the search bar, won’t change the meaning of the search query. In the SEO world, stop words won’t affect your search. You can both type “hardware store Franklin TN” or “hardware store in Franklin TN”, and show you the same results. 

Back then, search engines use stop words to save on storage space and to hasten to index and crawling. While stop words are important to your written content, they won’t affect your results when you remove them from your typed keywords. But it doesn’t mean you should completely get rid of these stop words. 

Stop words may still create an impact on SERPs. In general, search engines still use stop words for a better understanding of the search contexts and get more accurate results. 


Should you include stop words? 

Some CMS platforms such as WordPress (with Yoast SEO plugin) would often recommend not using stop words on your page URL. However, including the stop words can also lengthen the URL (which Google usually doesn’t like). You can also check out tips on making page URLs shorter but more meaningful and optimized. That includes removing stop words. 

As for headings and page titles, SEO experts would recommend retaining the stop words. Otherwise, it would make the page titles and headings look awkward. So no, you don’t want to remove them on your title, much more on your content. 



The debate whether to include stop words or not depends on where you are going to put it. For example, you don’t need to include stop words when typing something on the search bar. But for page titles, headings, and the content body, you need to include these stop words so it reads better. 

As a marketer, you don’t have to worry about the use of stop words. It is only a matter of understanding its use and how it can affect your SEO campaign. Better yet, you can hire an SEO expert in Franklin TN for your digital content needs. 

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