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I'm managing an interactive community website for a video game.

The video game is about cards which are bundled as decks. One can construct multiple decks with different cards. The website I've built allows to build & share such decks.

The website name actually includes the word decks.

One problem I see is that the majority of users is calling decks builds. Analytics is confirming this.

So my problem is: the competition is using the word build over and over again while I'm using deck. And as I said build is apparently the preferred (even when wrong) term.
I don't want to lose rankings / want to improve rankings to my page with the term build.

The actual question: what can I do to teach search machines that deck and build are synonyms in my case?

I've already used both terms as meta keywords like

<game> decks, <game> builds

What I don't want to do is using the term build on my actual page since it's kinda contradictory with decks in the site name/domain

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Synonyms and plural versions of words are not needed. You do not have to tell search engines what they already know. The schema.org mark-up would be correct to use for something that is not normally recognized by the various ontologies that exist.

Why do I say this? Because ontologies have been used in Google since the days when it was a research project. Ontologies are a form of a database that can be a dictionary, thesaurus, fact knowledge base, language translation, etc. Ontologies for plural terms and synonyms have existed since 1975. That is not a typo! The various open ontologies have been significantly improved over the years with huge leaps made in 2007 and 2008 and continuing. As well, Google uses AI to derive synonyms not already known. This is based upon linguistics fist and corroboration second and works extremely well.

You do not need to create a site for machines so please stop.

As well, it appears that you are operating on the apprehension that you must compete for keywords and placement in search. One thing is true. You must compete for placement in search, but not keywords. Search engines do not match keywords. Google never has and never will. Any match is incidental to the semantic analysis that exists. This is why sites and pages can compete for terms that do not exist. It is a matter of linguistics and not keywords, density, or how well you play hacky sack.

Create fan-freakin-tastic content for users and not machines.

Lastly, the keywords meta-tag is completely ignored. The reasons are simple. It can be manipulated and it does not add value. It does not give any additional semantic clues that support what search engines can already know about your site. Period. It is utterly useless to search engines and therefore utterly useless to you. Do not waste your time.

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Meta keywords are useless. Google ignores them completely. Other search engines gives them very little weight.

Instead you need to find ways to use both variants in natural ways. The main signal to Google that you should be ranking for a keyword is that you are using it. Find some places that you are using the term "Game decks" and replace it with "Game builds".

Write an article about "Are game decks and game builds the same thing?".

Create additional content that targets the "game builds." Especially if there are ways that it would be used where it is not completely appropriate to use it as a synonym of "game decks".

  • AFAIK meta keywords aren't used to change rankings but will be eventually used to understand content. shrug – Brettetete Feb 1 '16 at 22:14
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    @Brettetete that sounds like really old advice. Meta Keywords have been frowned upon for a while now. – Andrew Lott Feb 4 '16 at 16:46
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Use structured data for disambiguation:

<div itemscope itemtype="https://schema.org/Thing">
<h1 itemprop="name">Deck<h1>
<meta itemprop="alternateName" content="deck" />
<link itemprop="sameAs" href="http://dbpedia.org/page/Playing_card" />
</div>
  • Could you add some explanation? Could I use <game> <character> deck and <game> <character> build as alternative names? The actual h1 title is defined by the user, which is creating/sharing the deck – Brettetete Feb 1 '16 at 22:17
  • you can use anything you want: h1 is just an example. each property is self defined, so you may add any amount of synonyms. machine-readable disambiguation runs on two ways: definition of alternateName and definition of absolutely unique URI as sameAs property. The sense of it is: to define synonyms and to define their unique meaning. – Evgeniy Feb 2 '16 at 8:34

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