Understanding keyword stemming

Google’s ranking algorithm has become significantly more advanced than what it was a decade or so ago. Then, ranking was a matter of over-optimizing your content for a single word or very specific phrase.


But today, Google is much, much smarter. Google can now understand different word variations. It knows that run, running, and ran are the same thing. It also can also understand what plurals are and how they work. That’s why you shouldn’t spend your time or energy optimizing your content for a single phrase. Because of keyword stemming, you should be optimizing your content for a topic.


What is stemming?

Stemming or keyword stemming is what we introduced above, it is Google’s ability to associate different words with the same search intent. It’s called stemming because all word variations come from the same stem or root word. Run is the stem and running and ran are all variations of the main word.

Google has used this tactic for over a decade now in English search queries. However, it took a little longer to do it for other languages. Google has only got more advanced since then. It can now take a really broad view of search terms and nail the same user intent even if the phrases are very different.

If you want to optimize your content for a divorce lawyer, for instance, you should be able to use words and phrases like attorney, family attorney and law firm.

How does stemming impact SEO?

Because Google now understands the context of your content, you shouldn’t be over-optimizing your content for the same keyword. Instead, you should be writing awesome content naturally, making sure to include most relevant sub-topics where possible. Doing so will demonstrate your authority to readers and give Google enough information to associate your content with multiple keywords rather than just one.

So when you write content, don’t just use the same word over and over again. Make use of synonyms and subtopics to give your content depth and make it great for humans and search engines alike.


Summing it up

Understanding what stemming is and how it works is crucial if you want to create great content that ranks well in Google. To reiterate, keyword stuffing and focusing on one single keyword or phrase is out. Writing widely and knowledgeably about a topic, using multiple subtopics and synonyms is in. In doing so, you will give Google all the information it needs to effectively rank your page. What’s more, your page will probably rank for significantly more keywords than it would have if you took an outdated, keyword stuffing approach to your content.


Get help with your keyword research and content

Getting to grips with topic-based keyword research and writing supporting content is tough. That’s why we offer a done-for-you service that takes care of everything and ensures that your site ranks well for all of the most relevant and long tail keywords. Get in touch today for a free consultation and quote.