Posted on July 02, 2013

EDITOR’S NOTE:  This article was published in 2013 and still holds true today.  As requested from a San Jose WordPress Meetup member, we’re republishing this article.
Out of the hundreds of methods Google employs for ranking web pages, processing written content is at the top of the list. For someone who writes, edits or approves website composition, an understanding of what Stop Words do and don’t do is important when publishing for SEO.

Google Tends to Overlook Stop Words

For cataloging and ranking webpages, search engines (namely Google) will employ a technology called Natural Language Processing (NLP); a state-of-the-art technology for cataloging and retrieving vast amounts of information from written and spoken word. For Google, this process is called ‘Indexing’. Read more about Crawling, Indexing and Serving Results here. During the indexing process, Googlebots look for proprietary, industry-specific and contextually-related keyword terms and phrases. Based on the lexicon, nomenclature and the frequency of terms used in the writing, Google assigns individual words and word-combinations as relevant keywords for a particular topic of interest. These keywords are then used to determine web page rank on the search engine’s results page.

Stop Words

Processing volumes of information on the Internet is a daunting task and takes thousands of servers. To keep the processing performance at optimum, search engine algorithms are designed to discount certain function words that are used frequently and do not contribute to the overall meaning of a page. Specialized algorithms look  for and try to identify exceptions, such as ‘The Who’ or ‘Best Buy’.  However, by and large, search engines will ignore these words as keyword candidates. These words are called ‘Stop Words.’  Read more about Stop Words at Wikipedia.

The SEO Bottomline…

The vocabulary quality of a composition is important for page rank. There are two ways to improve written copy to help SEO…

  • Ensure the vocabulary within the written copy is developed. Use focal vocabulary, specialized sets of terms and distinctions having a particular focus on the topic.
  • Minimize Stop Word concentration on a page. Lowering the Stop Word percentage in a writing increases the likelihood that more keywords will be picked up by search engines.

Now that you understand the concept of Stop Words, the following are lists of the most common Stop Words.

Stop Words List: A thru C

a able about above abroad according accordingly across actually adj after afterwards again against ago ahead ain’t all allow allows almost alone along alongside already also although always am amid amidst among amongst an and another any anybody anyhow anyone anything anyway anyways anywhere apart appear appreciate appropriate are aren’t around as a’s aside ask asking associated at available away awfully b back backward backwards be became because become becomes becoming been before beforehand begin behind being believe below beside besides best better between beyond both brief but by c came can cannot cant can’t caption cause causes certain certainly changes clearly c’mon co co. com come comes concerning consequently consider considering contain containing contains corresponding could couldn’t course c’s currently

Stop Words List: D thru F

d dare daren’t definitely described despite did didn’t different directly do does doesn’t doing done don’t down downwards during e each edu eg eight eighty either else elsewhere end ending enough entirely especially et etc even ever evermore every everybody everyone everything everywhere ex exactly example except f fairly far farther few fewer fifth first five followed following follows for forever former formerly forth forward found four from further furthermore

Stop Words List: G thru K

g get gets getting given gives go goes going gone got gotten greetings h had hadn’t half happens hardly has hasn’t have haven’t having he he’d he’ll hello help hence her here hereafter hereby herein here’s hereupon hers herself he’s hi him himself his hither hopefully how howbeit however hundred i i’d ie if ignored i’ll i’m immediate in inasmuch inc inc. indeed indicate indicated indicates inner inside insofar instead into inward is isn’t it it’d it’ll its it’s itself i’ve j just k keep keeps kept know known knows

Stop Words List: L thru R

l last lately later latter latterly least less lest let let’s like liked likely likewise little look looking looks low lower ltd m made mainly make makes many may maybe mayn’t me mean meantime meanwhile merely might mightn’t mine minus miss more moreover most mostly mr mrs much must mustn’t my myself n name namely nd near nearly necessary need needn’t needs neither never neverf neverless nevertheless new next nine ninety no nobody non none nonetheless noone no-one nor normally not nothing notwithstanding novel now nowhere o obviously of off often oh ok okay old on once one ones one’s only onto opposite or other others otherwise ought oughtn’t our ours ourselves out outside over overall own p particular particularly past per perhaps placed please plus possible presumably probably provided provides q que quite qv r rather rd re really reasonably recent recently regarding regardless regards relatively respectively right round

Stop Word List: S thru Z

s said same saw say saying says second secondly see seeing seem seemed seeming seems seen self selves sensible sent serious seriously seven several shall shan’t she she’d she’ll she’s should shouldn’t since six so some somebody someday somehow someone something sometime sometimes somewhat somewhere soon sorry specified specify specifying still sub such sup sure t take taken taking tell tends th than thank thanks thanx that that’ll thats that’s that’ve the their theirs them themselves then thence there thereafter thereby there’d therefore therein there’ll there’re theres there’s thereupon there’ve these they they’d they’ll they’re they’ve thing things think third thirty this thorough thoroughly those though three through throughout thru thus till to together too took toward towards tried tries truly try trying t’s twice two u un under underneath undoing unfortunately unless unlike unlikely until unto up upon upwards us use used useful uses using usually v value various versus very via viz vs w want wants was wasn’t way we we’d welcome well we’ll went were we’re weren’t we’ve what whatever what’ll what’s what’ve when whence whenever where whereafter whereas whereby wherein where’s whereupon wherever whether which whichever while whilst whither who who’d whoever whole who’ll whom whomever who’s whose why will willing wish with within without wonder won’t would wouldn’t x y yes yet you you’d you’ll your you’re yours yourself yourselves you’ve z zero
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Written by Peter La Fond

Having lived most of his life in Northern California, Peter consults for organizations of all sizes on Internet marketing engagement, strategy and execution. He regularly speaks on website design techniques and WordPress. Peter is a graduate from California State University, Sacramento, and practices the ancient art of eating sushi with nose-hair-curling wasabi.

About My Internet Scout

Based in Wilmington, North Carolina, My Internet Scout, LLC is an Internet Marketing firm for small- and medium- size businesses. We specialize in WordPress website design, marketing and related services that include e-commerce, event registration, maintenance, content creation and search engine optimization (SEO). We service a variety of clients across the United States.

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