SEO Copywriting 101: Writing with Key Phrases and Stop Words

by admin on January 28, 2009

Key phrases are the bane of my existence.  Quite frequently, I have found key phrase placement to be the hardest part of a piece of writing.  Generally, the phrases are geo-targeted, which means they have the name of a place in them. 

“Michigan secure e-commerce” is an excellent example of this.  It might be easy to write something about Michigan e-commerce or secure e-commerce.  However, tying the whole phrase into an article without making it sound repetitious is a chore.  Or was – until I found out about stop words.

Stop Words Mean “Go”

Stop words are writing that search engines don’t recognize, except in specific circumstances.  Whenever you put in a search term like “why are flowers purple” and get results for “purple flowers”, you can blame stop words.  They tell the search engine “stop – go on to the next word”.

Stop words are ignored because of how often they’re used.  To, be, the, may, for are all stop words.  Many of them are words you may not think are commonly used: between, however, therefore, having.

Keyword density and the beauty of stop words…

SE Optimizers have various tricks and tools for their campaigns.  One of them is a keyword density analyzer.  The analyzer searches SEO copy, counts the number of times each word is used and figures the density percentage. 

Short Story:  The first time I checked for keyword density I used a free analyzer found here.  I still use it on occasion.  I saw this little checkbox marked “Ignore Stop Words”.  So I did (I like to live dangerously). 

The page refreshed and I noticed that my word count had dropped from a nice even 500 to an uneven, unprofessional 446.  Then I scrolled down to the bottom and found a list entitled “Stop words ignored”.  I had to find out more.  So I did.

The Neat Trick

Here’s the neat trick I learned about using key phrases in your copy:  You can break the phrase up with stop words.
Example without stop words:

High impact website design is a mix of flash, content and design.  The problem with high impact website design is that it has a tendency to load slowly; statistics say that most users won’t wait more than ten seconds for a site to load before clicking away.  Although developers are finding ways to speed up high impact website design, it has yet to reach a good load time.”

Example with stop words:

High impact website design is a mix of flash, content and design.  The problem with a high impact website is that the design has a tendency to load slowly; statistics say that most users won’t wait more than ten seconds for a site to load before clicking away.  Although developers are finding ways to implement high impact into any website design, it has yet to reach a good load time.”

While the examples are simplified (the key phrase will stick out anyway), the idea is to use stop words between the writing in the phrase.  If you’re careful, you can write an excellent article, using the key words and phrases, without having them stand out in awkward embarrassment.

Several places on the Net have stop word listings.  Go out, take a peek, and see what you can do with the wonderful, the fabulous, the fantastic and truly helpful stop words.

Next blog – SEO Copywriting 101:  Tips on Writing Key Phrases (The Right Way)

Stay tuned!

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Copy Writers Software
March 11, 2009 at 4:40 pm

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Ken February 28, 2010 at 12:22 pm

I came across this valuable info back in mid 2009 and got lost for awhile.You wrote “the idea is to use stop words between the writing in the phrase.” I stuck it in the back of my mind and have never forgotten it. It’s time to implement the usage but I have to ask, can you use periods, Question marks etc. as you would stop words?

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