15 Nov 2019 Strategies

SEO Stop Words Guide (Nov 2019) – Including List

stop words in a google search

Have you heard about people talking about how ‘stop words’ can be bad for SEO, but unsure what they exactly are and why they are (potentially) bad? 

Well, it just so happens that you have stumbled across the right blog. Here is your guide to SEO stop words in 2019, including a comprehensive list of words alphabetically arranged. 

What is included in this guide? 

Along with a comprehensive list of stop words, this guide will also answer the following: 

  • What are SEO stop words? 
  • Are stop words bad for SEO? 
  • Are stop words always ignored? 
  • Are SEO stop words bad in the title? 
  • Are SEO stop words bad in the URL? 
  • Why are they called stop words? 

What are SEO stop words? 

Search engines such as Google will ignore extremely common words so that they can save space in their databases and speed up both crawling and indexing. These are known as stop words. In general computing stop words are filtered out before and after the processing of natural language data eg text. 

Are stop words bad for SEO? 

Quick answer: Stop words themselves do not hurt your SEO, it’s the excessive usage of them. Always write for the end user and think about intent, especially with the latest algorithm update, BERT. Use keywords and synonyms when relevant and only use stop words when necessary. Don’t go stop word crazy. 

spice girls stop right now

Why are they bad for SEO? 

When people are surfing the web, they will often use stop words in their search queries. Search engines receive millions of searches every minute. Google alone receives 63,000 searches every second.  

Stop words can cause lags in load times (how long it takes Google to show results to an end user) and also some ambiguity in the search results, which can result in wrong information showing up. Again, thanks to BERT this will get better. 

By ignoring stop words, Google and other search engines can provide faster and more accurate search results for their users. Even though they do from time to get it wrong with the results they display.

Examples of Google ignoring stop words 

So, let’s talk about a few examples of when stop words are ignored, using Google as the example, let’s be honest does anyone use anything else 😉. 

Let’s say you search ‘a hairdresser in Leicester’. The words a and in don’t change the meaning of the query, so Google would ignore and provide results for ‘hairdresser Leicester’ instead. 

You may ask Google a question such as, ‘what are the best vegan restaurants in Leicester?’ Again, Google will filter out the unnecessary words and show results for ‘best vegan restaurants Leicester’. 

Google still provides the best answer but by working smarter and not harder. 

dog working smarter not harder

Are stop words always ignored? 

No, stop words aren’t always ignored. Sometimes stop words change the meaning of the search query. 

In these situations, Google is smart enough to consider the stop word(s) and interpret the meaning of the query by looking at the words around the main keyword. 

Sounds confusing but it’s not. So, someone may search for matrix and someone else may search for the matrix. One will probably want information about the math concept whereas the other wants information about the film. 

In the above example the stop word is obviously ‘the’ but Google would not ignore this, as without the word, it changes the intent behind the query. 

the matrix

Are SEO stop words bad in the URL? 

If you own a WordPress site, chances are you have the Yoast SEO plugin. If you have, you have probably seen the tool recommend that you don’t use stop words in the URL, page title and focus keyword. 

Many SEO experts will say that using stop words could have an undesired effect in your rankings and make the URL unnecessarily longer (shorter URLs tend to be best practice for SEO as they are more sharable). 

This is not entirely true. Good search engines, especially Google, has one goal and that is to provide a good user experience and will do anything it can to enhance this. Filtering out stop words could end up spoiling the users experience. 

Ask any copywriter and they’ll say stop words are necessary to be grammatically correct, add further meaning and ensure the sentence reads well. 

Search engines are becoming smarter. Today its more about being natural and writing good, highly content for the engines such as Google, which is where stop words come in handy.  

Therefore, stop words aren’t all evil. 

Stop words hack: Do a bit of research yourself. Go to Google and search for the long tail keyword or query that you want to write about. Research using stops words and then again without. If the results change depending on whether you include stop words or not, chances are you need them to ensure the intent of your content is correct. 

Why are they called stop words? 

The term stop words was coined by Hans Peter Luhn, who was an early pioneer of information retrieval techniques. 

List of SEO stop words 

A 

About 

Above 

After 

Again 

Against 

All 

Am 

An 

And 

Any 

Are 

As 

At 

B 

Be 

Because 

Been 

Before 

Being 

Below 

Between 

Both 

But 

By 

C 

Could 

D 

Did 

Do 

Does 

Doing 

Down 

During 

E 

Each 

F 

Few 

For 

From 

Further 

H 

Had 

Has 

Have 

Having 

He 

He’d 

He’ll 

He’s 

Her 

Here 

Here’s 

Hers 

Herself 

Him 

Himself 

His 

How 

How’s 

I 

I’d 

I’ll 

I’m 

I’ve 

If 

In 

Into 

Is 

It 

It’s 

Its 

Itself 

L 

Let’s 

M 

Me 

More 

Most My 

Myself 

N 

Nor 

O 

Of 

On 

Once 

Only 

Or 

Other 

Ought 

Our 

Ours 

Ourselves 

Out 

Over 

Own 

S 

Same 

She 

She’d 

She’ll 

She’s 

Should 

So 

Some 

Such 

T 

Than 

That 

That’s 

The 

Their 

Theirs 

Them 

Themselves 

Then 

There 

They 

They’d 

They’ll 

They’re 

They’re 

This 

Those 

Through 

To 

Too 

U 

Under 

Until 

Up 

V 

Very 

Was 

We 

We’d 

We’ll 

We’re 

We’ve 

Were 

What 

What’s 

When  

When’s 

Where 

Where’s 

Which 

While 

Who 

Who’s 

Whom 

Why 

Why’s 

With 

Would 

You 

You’d 

You’ll 

You’re 

You’ve 

Your 

Yours 

Yourself 

Yourselves 

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