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Google’s Query Expansion Funnels Website Traffic

How you word things and the synonyms of specific words are very important if you are attempting to funnel traffic to your website. Google has been continuously working on this feature for quite some time.

Similar Words from Searching

Google used to operate a system known as Hummingbird, which would rank sites by pairing specific keywords into a query for a webpage. Whenever Google made the move to update, they had swapped out some specific words in their query with synonyms.


The meaning of those words stayed the same, but it allowed more pages for them to rank and to track a broader selection. By doing this, it created a plethora of quality sites that users were missing out on before.

Google has been trying to do more than just single keyword expansion. In order to understand what a person is trying to search, they have to look at the phrase itself and the keywords.

Similar Words Could Change Results

The structure of a word and how it is used in a phrase is very important. For example, an individual could look to search “edit video” or even “video editor”.

Looking at the phrase “edit video”, this implies one particular thing. When searching for the other phrase, “video editor”, it will bring back different results because it is only slightly synonymous.

This is where it begins to be more complex for Google’s situation. As a user, you also have to understand what exactly someone would be wanting to search for and how the phrases affect the search.

Phrases are Still Ranked by Google

By using those two phrases about video editing, you can see how they could offer slightly different results. They each bring forth their own respective sites for traffic, but they could also have matching results in some cases.

The reason for that is that both phrases are not a unique one to one ratio as a synonym, even though there were similar results that showed for both. You could take this a step further and if you added “how to” in front of the “edit video”.

This would definitely change the results of what you are looking for once again. It all depends on how you are wording your search criteria with keywords.

Thinking of both sides of the phrase and keywords are very important for driving traffic. If you can be creative to funnel every avenue, then you have it figured out.

Synonyms Help Grow List

Google continues to rank pages based on synonyms and phrases. This is nice that the ongoing work is being completed, it just might not be as fast as some would hope.

It is more important than ever to consider how a phrase or keyword might be used on your site. Since the system is not yet perfect, every step matters in the process. 
For example, if you search sports news or current sporting news, you will get slightly different results. Below you can see how phrases and synonyms affect results.

For those that searched “edit video” they are likely attempting to find knowledge on how to do just that. For those that searched, “video editor” they might have more results geared towards downloading software to use for that.

Different Languages

Getting into different languages is another slight barrier for Google to play with. Some words look similar on paper, but they mean different things in context.

Also Read - Google Word Coach Game

For example, a British and American word that are spelled the same could yield different results. Some words might also have different accents to them, causing the phrase to be completely different.

Building Your Site with Keywords

If you are trying to drive traffic to your site and have a lot of keywords to consider, the best option is to consistently keep up with words that work. You will likely have to try a handful of times in order to find the best words to use.

A common approach for most websites is to sprinkle in keywords throughout their writing, whether it is a useful word or something that is not relative to their content. This way you can begin to see which words or phrases help drive the traffic to your site.

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