Google Synonyms

// // May 30th 2009 // SEO

Google continues to build a synonym database to help deliver the best results for user queries. It’s not the most well documented or talked about feature but understanding synonyms can help your SEO efforts.

Use Synonyms to Increase Subject Density

Traditional keyword density revolves around the optimization for a specific keyword. A page on sofas would use modifiers or keyword clusters like ‘leather sofas’, ‘sofa beds’, ‘upholstered sofas’, and ‘sofa cushions’ as a way to increase density on the root keyword.

Using synonyms you can also increase the subject density of the page through supporting keywords like ‘couches’, ‘furniture’ and ‘chairs’. (Yes, chairs is currently a synonym for sofas.)

You’re not looking to make these synonyms the primary focus or most keyword dense words. Use them as supporting keywords to help Google to better understand the subject matter of the page.

How To Find Google Synonyms

You can use the ~ operator to perform a synonym search. Coupled with a negative search for the same term and you can easily see the highlighted synonyms for that term. Here’s an example for the term ‘reviews’ (~reviews -reviews).

Google Synonyms

You’ll notice that ‘opinions’, ‘guide’, ‘rating’, and ‘prices’ are all highlighted and identified as synonyms.

There are also a few tools (here and here) that provide greater insight into synonym sets. SEO success is accomplished through doing a lot of little things right.

Synonyms are just one more way to help optimize your site and pages.

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Comments About Google Synonyms

// 3 comments so far.

  1. ToddySM // June 02nd 2009

    Cool! I didn’t know that functionality in Google. The next thing they shoud go after is actually words that are wrongly used – like firewall and gateway for example. Thanks forpointing this out.

  2. marina // June 15th 2011

    But my question is that is that command only valid in one single word? What if i want to find synonyms of two words, such as “ac adapter”? I’ve tried that command ~”ac adapter” -”ac adapter”, but it did not work.

  3. STEVE // June 20th 2012

    @MARINA it works with two word synonyms eg try this: ~Car Reviews -Car

    However it doesn’t work for two word negatives. eg: ~Car Reviews -Car Reviews

    Steve

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