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burt

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What is the situation with plurals/singular not appearing in the content, and misspelled words? Earlier there was an example of "chair" being used on the page, but not "chairs", and what if someone searches for "chairs"? Are most search engines smart enough to figure out they also have to look for "chair"? I've seen advice that you should always use the singular form when searching, but what if a plural isn't simply adding an "s"? E.g., if I search for bunny, will a SE also look for bunnies? How about non-English text on either the page or in the search request?

 

What if a common misspelling of "chair" is, say, "chare"? If someone tries searching on "chare", will SEs always do a phonetic search? I've noticed that if I happen to misspell a word in Google, it will often search for what it thinks is the correct spelling, and offer to search for the incorrect one.

 

If you can't guarantee that a SE will pick up plural/singular or misspellings/variations in spelling (color/colour), it would seem to be a good idea to have meta keywords. Any data on this?

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The general answer for any SEO question is that the page needs to be optimized for the keyword you are targeting. In the case of singular versus plurals, if the word is closely relevant, like tire and tires, Google and Bing will generally rank for both. I've even seen where they rank a page for a misspelled word, using the correct spelling. But the ranking may not be what you want if you let them decide which is the main keyword, thus my first statement.  While as I mentioned previously, there are valid reasons to use the meta keyword tag, one should never put keywords in it that are not used on the page.

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Keywords can be used for other things (eg content on page, keyword search engine and so on).  Do not get Keywords (used in text, search and so on) mixed up with META keywords.

 

 

Again, for Clarity;

The META keywords tag is;

at best; a waste of time

at worst; harmful to your site 

 

With one caveat;

Unless you actively target the Baidu search engine, in which case;  

at best;  someone might find your site in Baidu

at worst;  harmful in every other search engine


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So, can anyone tell me if META keywords are needed to cover spelling errors by searchers, plural vs. singular, etc., or are Search Engines smart enough now to take care of all that? If not, and if META keywords are not helpful in this regard, what am I to do? I don't want to sprinkle my text with misspellings ("chare" for "chair") and alternate spellings (both "colour" and "color"), as that makes me look stupid, and I don't want stilted language from trying to cram in both plural and singular forms of all important (key) words. I fear that if I use the old tricks of invisible text (color, no-display, tiny size) that some SEs might penalize me. From experience, I have found that at least Google seems to be forgiving about searchers' misspellings to some extent, but I'm not sure about plurals. If someone uses the wrong word for a search term (e.g., "too" instead of "two"), I don't see how SEs could catch that.

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No, you shouldn't use the tag for wrong spellings. The search engines are smart enough nowadays to catch mistakes as long as they are fairly close. I don't know what they would do if the word was similar but not related. For example, if you sold sailboats and you wrote saleboats, they would catch that. But if you wrote "we offer sales" instead of "we offer sails", both could be correct.  I think in a case like that, they take into account the whole page. The keyword(s) should be mentioned more than one on a page. And if it is in the url and web page title, they should be able to figure out the correct keyword(s). 

 

To get around incorrect or common spelling mistakes, like two and too, you can add a few lines on the product page that lists them. But it should be obvious what you are doing since the search engines take hidden text very seriously and doing that can cause your site to be banned if it is excessive. But a line something like this is fine: "This product is sometimes called XXX, YYY and ZZZ. And other spellings may include ABC and DEF."  

 

If you have Header Tags SEO installed, it records words that are searched for and marks the ones not found. You can then assign those words the correct product. But that is mainly for incorrect searches on the site. If you are only referring to the search engine listings, then you can try the above.

 

But I think the bottom line of this is that you can't cover all of the bases. If it s a fairly common mistake, then the search engines are probably already aware of it. You can check the keyword tool in google adwords to find what words they report as similar. And also in webmaster tools (search console) to see what people are actually getting to your site for.

 

But incorrect spelling should be corrected just for the sake of the impression that gives the customer. It can be difficult to catch such mistakes but they need to be caught due to the affect they can have on the customers. I'm sure there are probably mistakes on my site but I always check a page I'm editing to try to limit such errors.

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N.B., I'm talking about misspellings (and legitimate alternate spellings and incorrect homophones) by whoever is looking for my site, not misspellings on my site! I don't make misteaks... I mean, mistkes, er, typos. Oh dear, I seem to be channeling Marco Rubio now! Anyway, I did have a legitimate concern about whether mistakes by searchers can be caught, as I don't really want to deliberately put such errors in my visible text.

 

This product is sometimes called XXX, YYY and ZZZ. And other spellings may include ABC and DEF.

 

An interesting thought, but I don't want to encourage people to use the wrong term or misspellings. Since the idea is to get these alternate keywords out there for search engines, how far can you go in "hiding" such text without penalty? If at the very bottom of the page I print such text in 1pt type, is that OK?

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and I thought the search engines business was to figure out exactly what we mean when we search, me as a shopowner I can't really add all possible combinations of variations and misspellings.

I believe the smartest search engine will have the most users and will win in the end ...

Maybe I'm just naïve, but I find google correcting my mistakes a lot so I'm not too concerned.

I would however add something to capture misspellings once people have arrived on your site and use the search box.


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An interesting thought, but I don't want to encourage people to use the wrong term or misspellings. Since the idea is to get these alternate keywords out there for search engines, how far can you go in "hiding" such text without penalty? If at the very bottom of the page I print such text in 1pt type, is that OK?

The rule is that anything on the page that you want the search engines to see, the customer also has to be able to see. I suppose some people could possibly read a very small font but I think that would be considered hiding text. The same with using a font color that's the same as the background color. I've seen some sites that use a div with a position off of the visible page. The bots may not be able to detect such things but the search engines do have real people that randomly check sites. Plus, your competitors may report you if they notice it. If you are caught trying to trick google and they deem it serious enough, they may suspend your site from all of their listings - sometimes for a short time, sometimes for year, sometimes permanently.  So whatever you may gain by hiding something just isn't worth the risk, in my opinion.

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So it's possible that if I put (at the bottom, in 1 or 2 pt type) "Common misspellings and alternate spellings: chare, chares, colour, colours. Plural/singular alternatives: chairs, colors." they might ban me? Even if I have legitimate uses of "chair" and "color" in my text? That's stupid! I just don't want people concentrating on that text; it's basically for the benefit of search engines with illiterate users (as well as those using British spelling). I can see them banning me if I sell Nike shoes, and I put "Adidas, Puma, New Balance, PF Flyer, Keds" in tiny type without using those names in my visible text -- that's reasonable because it's keyword stuffing (or worse) and is clearly unethical.

 

There must be some way of giving alternate spellings without enraging the 800 pound Googrilla, yet not distracting readers with this text! Let's say my product name is some made-up word that could reasonably be spelled several different ways (e.g., "GronkTech" and "GronkTek", or even "GronkTeX"). If someone heard my product name on the radio, how could they search for it? Say, it's unusual enough that an SE's phonetic spelling correction can't handle it (possibly switching to my competitor's name, "GrokTech"!). It used to be that this would be a perfect application of META keywords, but if most search engines now ignore them, or worse, penalize for using them...

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If you put text on the page that cannot be viewed by the customer, then you are violating their rules. Whether the search engines ever do anything about it can't be known. With my luck, they would ban tomorrow if I tried that. Your site may go years without any problem. As mentioned, the search engines will be able to figure out some differences, like color and colour. But I think you may be looking at SEO from the wrong end of the stick.

 

While google's plan to rule the worlds is on-track, they don't care how you optimize your pages, as long as they are done legitimately. It's up to you to set up the pages to get listed as you want. If you think the search engines won't return your pages for a misspelled word and you don't take steps to make that happen, then your link may not rank as well as you would like. So sometimes you have to decide if it is more important to rank for certain keywords or to add something to a page that might bother your customers. I think that as long as the text is low on the page they won't care. Most customers just want to read about the product and be able to order it so as long as text you add doesn't interfere with that it shouldn't be a problem. 

 

Have you checked google to see where you rank for a particular word and then checked again for a variation of it? Obviously, you can't know all of the variations but that may answer some of your concerns.

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So it's possible that if I put (at the bottom, in 1 or 2 pt type) "Common misspellings and alternate spellings: chare, chares, colour, colours. Plural/singular alternatives: chairs, colors." they might ban me? Even if I have legitimate uses of "chair" and "color" in my text? That's stupid! I just don't want people concentrating on that text; it's basically for the benefit of search engines with illiterate users (as well as those using British spelling). I can see them banning me if I sell Nike shoes, and I put "Adidas, Puma, New Balance, PF Flyer, Keds" in tiny type without using those names in my visible text -- that's reasonable because it's keyword stuffing (or worse) and is clearly unethical.

 

There must be some way of giving alternate spellings without enraging the 800 pound Googrilla, yet not distracting readers with this text! Let's say my product name is some made-up word that could reasonably be spelled several different ways (e.g., "GronkTech" and "GronkTek", or even "GronkTeX"). If someone heard my product name on the radio, how could they search for it? Say, it's unusual enough that an SE's phonetic spelling correction can't handle it (possibly switching to my competitor's name, "GrokTech"!). It used to be that this would be a perfect application of META keywords, but if most search engines now ignore them, or worse, penalize for using them...

 

The perfect use for "tagging".  You know those little tags you sometimes see on pages.

 

Sometimes added only by shopowner.

Sometimes added by the public.

Sometimes both.

 

You could then link these tags to your internal search engine.  

Or you could add richsnippets (metadata, not to be confused with Meta Keywords).

Or...I'm sure you can think of other things...


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