When using keywords such as in tags such as a tag, does Google recognize / ignore repeated words and recognize only the unique words instead, and correlate those for organic searches?

For example, if I want to sell books online in Canada, I may have a tag with keywords placed in it for common Google searches, including phrases as some of the following: "Sell textbooks online, Sell textbooks Canada, Sell books Canada, Sell books online, Sell used textbooks online, sell used textbooks Canada, Sell used textbooks online". (I understand this is over the character limit, but these phrases would be placed throughout the site and in other tags.).

Is all the repeated words such as "sell, book, textbook, Canada" redundant, with only the unique words actually being necessary?

Instead, would it be wiser if I just put: "Sell used books & textbooks online in Canada" where all the keywords are present in the same sentence, where words dont need to be repeated for each exact phrase.

Please dont reply saying this doesnt matter and only quality content matters for SEO, this is not answering my question.

I am not referring to meta tags though, im aware they're ignored, im referring to markup tags such as , , , . Putting keywords in these are valuable and looked at by Google. I've also read in "SEO Fitness Workbook, 2016 Edition: The Seven Steps to Search Engine Optimization Success on Google", is actually used by Google for SEO, despite many saying its not, just being ignored and being used more for a "note to self".

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    Google can smell manipulation a mile away. It also sucks for human beings. Just write text a human can appreciate. It always translates to better results then that other nonsense. Oh, I just realized I just basically said "quality content". If you don't like that don't bother worrying about SEO as that is always the answer.
    – John Conde
    Oct 13, 2016 at 19:52
  • Im asking for simple advice for strategic keyword usage. Ignoring keywords and their placement throughout the page is careless and not the way to improve a sites ranking.
    – Speer
    Oct 13, 2016 at 20:08
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    All this keyword 5h17 is just that, 5h17! It is important to use appropriate topical terms of course, however, Google NEVER did direct keyword matches. It was created with the notion of keyword matches is a poor search method. Seriously! It is about whole language and the value of the content you write. So create content like a human - for humans. The rest of the strategy we can help you with. We have some real experts here.
    – closetnoc
    Oct 13, 2016 at 22:26
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    @PlanetScaleNetworks A hearty Amen(!) for specially when quality content will naturally produce its own optimal keywords. This is a fact that I have been yelling at the top of my lungs for a long time now. Natural writing is far better for search in the long run than keyword optimized content simply because keyword loaded content narrows the semantic signals of the work and natural writings retain a search longevity that spans beyond trends. Cheers!!
    – closetnoc
    Oct 14, 2016 at 15:54
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    Here is some additional reading to help you understand how all this works. webmasters.stackexchange.com/questions/81551/… webmasters.stackexchange.com/questions/91128/seo-halo-effect/…
    – closetnoc
    Oct 14, 2016 at 16:14

1 Answer 1


As @John Conde states simply placing keywords throughout the page will not only make it difficult for your readers but will also not help your PageRank at all. Google hasn't based ranking on specified keywords for a long time since the problem with keyword stuffing and even back in the day what people would class as keywords where not what Google depended on anyway. When Google indexes a page it extracts context specific keywords from the page to identify what the keywords should be.

These days when Google indexes a page it effectively does so by asking "what would a human think this page is about". I understand from your question the specific part where you say not to say that keywords don't matter and only content matters but the fact is that while I wouldn't say keywords don't matter I would say that with modern SEO you should actually be calling it HRO (Human Reader Optimisation) in that the keywords for your page should be a natural part of the flow of the page contents and more specifically the topic being covered in the page. I doing this crawlers which pull your page and then assess it for indexing will automatically pick up on the appropriate keywords much the same as a human reader would.

You talk about the fact that you have read "SEO Fitness Workbook, 2016 Edition" and that is great however the fact remains that SEO is not really something that can be easily taught in a book as a hard and fast thing, SEO is something which is dependant on the site in question and involves a great deal of experimentation to find the right content to achieve the keywords that you are wanting to target. By all means you should decide on the keywords that you would like to see associated with your page and then work on the content to cover those keywords in a natural flowing way but you should also be prepared for disappointment and a lot of experimentation as the keyword choices and ranking Google uses is based on a huge number or variables and it is not as simple as making sure all of your keywords exist on the page somewhere. Google can and quite frequently does ignore certain keywords or give them less weight if the assessment of the page shows that other keywords are more appropriate.

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    I will add that terms used are weighted based upon linguistic value of the term. Just because someone uses a term, does not meant it will get equal weight as all the rest. As for Google, all terms used are weighted topically and within context. The OP is better off thinking less in terms of keywords, and more in terms of topics and using the appropriate terms that support semantic topical analysis. This means that the work will have a strong topical score which allows terms to be weighted appropriately as a result in relation to the topic. Cheers!!
    – closetnoc
    Oct 14, 2016 at 16:01

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