I’ve mentioned the use of synonyms in previous posts like 2012 Keyword Research and Post Panda SEO Tips but in this post, I want to elaborate more and talk about why Google loves synonyms. Using synonyms has been beneficial for SEO for a few years now but they are even more important after the Panda and Penguin have rolled out.
Why Synonyms are so Important
According to Matt Cutts, Google’s measurements show that synonyms affect 70 percent of all user searches. An example they use in their post Helping Computers Understand Language is if someone searches for [pictures] they should get the same results if they search for [photos]. The task of identifying the relationship between synonyms and other words is a core function of any search engine. This is why Google has a massive synonyms database and complex algorithms that allow them to intuitively understand your query.
Another reason synonyms are so important to Google is because this same technology can also be used to identify spun content. I stopped spinning back in 2010 as a precautionary measure because I realized that if TheBestSpinner.com can have a database of 82,000 synonyms, then Google must have a substantial amount more. Google’s Webspam Team should be smart enough to use this database and algorithms unspin and identify black-hat articles.
2% keyword density is standard. Anything over this, can even lower your rankings. Plus it can look spammy as the content doesn’t usually read well when you try to stuff the keyword in too many times. This is why I suggest keeping the main keyword at a density of 2% and try to use synonyms when possible. You can also stick synonyms in different tags, alt tags, meta content, file names and etc. It’s become second nature for me to just use the keyword once or twice and then insert synonyms throughout the page instead.