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How to Use Search Engine Synonyms to Your Advantage

Jun 27, 2008
Lately webmasters have noticed that some pages are appearing very high in Google SERP (Search Engine Ranking Pages) without even a single presence of the search term; albeit topically succinct. This is a significant departure from what is widely known that for a page to appear for the search term "Apple Computer", the term should be used in the page fairly frequently. In fact this has been the basis of a SEO (Search Engine Optimization) tactic called Keyword Density.

This then means that when you do a search for "Apple Computers" you will tend to see pages that do not contain this particular term. But they will contain terms like Mac, Macintosh or G4. These are what are termed as SE (Search Engine) synonyms. Evidently Google seems to consider the terms "Mac" etc similar in meaning as "Apple Computers". This is comparable to the way you would use the words "car" and "vehicle" interchangeably. And consequently instead of serving back pages strictly with the terms Apple Computers it also includes pages without the term but include terms it considers similar like Mac and Macintosh.

These SE synonyms are an expression of Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) discussed here last week, peculiar so far only to Google search. But of more importance to a web business is that it impacts significantly on what you can rank for and how you optimize your web pages on this leading SE. Previously, to rank for all the keywords related to "Apple Computer" you would need to write separate pages for each term. But with this development, it seems the same page could appear for any of the search terms - even without those other terms present within the content.

If you particularly use SEs to drive your online business, LSI adds one more strategy into your bag of SEO tactic. The tactic is simply this; when writing content for your website, make a conscious effort to include SE synonyms in the page. So instead of only using the term "Apple Computers" interchange it with G4 and Macintosh. This will greatly improve the relevance of your page. Not only will Google notice your main keywords but also the use of synonyms. This makes the page super-relevant to the synonymic search terms in the eyes of the SE algorithm.

To determine SE synonyms use the toogle key before your search query. The toogle key is the key with the "~" sign. You will need to hold down the shift key. For example, if you type it before the term "Apple Computers" you will notice that in the resulting SERP include the words Mac, Macintosh and G4 in bold. The bolded words are what the SE also considers as synonyms to the search queries.
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