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Should I incorporate synonyms for important terms into my site?

Should I incorporate synonyms for important terms into my site? - answered by Matt Cutts

Matt's answer:

MATT CUTTS: Today’s question comes from Las Vegas. Techguy asks, if two terms are used essentially interchangeably, does Google realize that the terms are interchangeable? Should you be trying to use both terms or just focus on one term to get the best search engine traffic? An example is EMR and EHR, so maybe electronic medical records and electronic health records. So my advice would be, all other things being equal, as long as you can do it without sounding artificial or stilted or spammy, is to go ahead and use both words. We have an entire team at Google called the Synonyms team and their job is to sort of realize that car and automobile are the same thing. But I wouldn’t claim that they’re perfect all the time. And so rather than relying on the search engine to really be able to intuit that you’re not only about electronic health records, but also about electronic medical records, my advice would be to make sure that you mention in natural way that you are good at both of those. And a good way to do that is to have some paragraphs of text or background about what you do and just make sure that when you’re talking about what it is, maybe once it’s a USB drive, and next time it’s a USB stick, and then at the bottom of the page it’s a flash drive or whatever, but just read that text aloud, maybe even ask a friend to read it, and sort of say, does it sound stilted, does it sound artificial? And if you’re trying to incorporate really a lot of keywords, then you’ll notice that your text does becomes stilted, artificial, or maybe even spammy. But in general, if you are able to use synonyms or the words that users would actually type in a natural way, then you reduce or remove that uncertainty and Google doesn’t have to somehow guess or estimate that that’s what your page is really about. So that could be kind of helpful. And I would recommend that you try to use the words in a natural way, as long as it doesn’t go too far and people start to notice that it sounds weird.

by Matt Cutts - Google's Head of Search Quality Team


Original video: