Synonyms naturally play an integral role in any sophisticated language, for communication (synonym for language!) would become monotonous if there existed merely one specific and universal way to express an idea. Thus, it’s reasonable to conclude synonyms also have a vital function in the world of search, where there are literally countless ways to search for the same thing. Realizing this, it’s incumbent upon us as search engine optimization professionals to identify the unique ways search users might realistically search for the products and services of our customers.
Last month the Google blog published a post illuminating the role of synonyms in search, and the conclusive results were rather exciting. After analyzing search statistics from all 100 languages Google supports, it was found that synonyms play an essential role in approximately 70 percent of all searches. Furthermore, only two percent of synonym-related searches yielded faulty or misleading results, meaning if users are searching for it, there’s a 98 percent chance Google is coming through with accurate results.
This revelation won’t have much of an effect on some industries, particularly those where the majority of users already know how to conduct an accurate search. Examples of this might be in the car industry, where users are most likely to search the following nouns: Cars, trucks, vans, SUVs, sports utility vehicles, automobiles or vehicles. That the auto industry has been around for generations means new labels are seldom applied to the automobile, unless it reflects brand names (e.g. Dodge Stratus).
Seo consultants are more likely to exploit synonyms in emerging markets where dubious terms linger, as well as with untapped brand abbreviations. For instance, if an online athletic clothing store wanted to sell more products from a brand like Under Armour, it would be wise to target not only “Under Armour clothing” but also “UA clothing.”
Understandably, our primary focus is to please the search engines in order to achieve the improved rankings that will please our clients. However, much can be gained from paying close attention to how users are actually searching for our clients’ products. Going beyond basic keyword research and identifying common synonyms in search engine queries enables you to achieve top rankings for more phrases, while increasing web traffic for clients and boosting their ROI.