Conjunction Junction, Google No Longer Displays Stop Words Malfunction

In the past, searches involving for “stop words” — prepositions, pronouns, articles, and other small words like “be” or “to” — would return a warning saying that these words were “a very common word and were not included in your search.” Now, searches involving stop words no longer do this. Here is a before and […]

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In the past, searches involving for “stop words” — prepositions, pronouns, articles, and other small words like “be” or “to” — would return a warning saying that these words were “a very common word and were not included in your search.” Now, searches involving stop words no longer do this.

Here is a before and after picture showing this. The before picture was taken from here:

Google Stop Words Message Gone

After:
Google Stop Words Message Gone


New Google Approach to Indexing and Stopwords from SEO By The Sea and Stop Words Are Dead! Did I Miss Another Memo? from SEO Fast Start were the most recent sites to spot this change in Google.

Does this mean that Google no longer ignores stop words such as “a, and, is, on, of, or, the, was, with”? Or does it mean that Google simply no longer tells the searcher that Google is ignoring those stop words?

Google still has a page on Why won’t Google let me search for numbers or words like “how” and “the”? On that page, it says “Google ignores stop words when they’re placed in searches alongside less common words.”

Bill at SEO By The Sea links to a patent named Document compression scheme that supports searching and partial decompression that explains that Google now, in a sense, may use a searcher’s stop words when returning results. Bill explains, “The system would look for the less popular terms that appear in the query, and then look to see if the stop words in the query are nearby.”

So, does Google use stop words or not? I will try to get an official comment from Google on this and then postscript this article.


About the author

Barry Schwartz
Staff
Barry Schwartz is a technologist and a Contributing Editor to Search Engine Land and a member of the programming team for SMX events. He owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics.

In 2019, Barry was awarded the Outstanding Community Services Award from Search Engine Land, in 2018 he was awarded the US Search Awards the "US Search Personality Of The Year," you can learn more over here and in 2023 he was listed as a top 50 most influential PPCer by Marketing O'Clock.

Barry can be followed on X here and you can learn more about Barry Schwartz over here or on her personal site.

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