Gee. I would say. NO. (To the last question that is).
Although I hope we can ask some questions without getting hit by a flying chair.
We wanted to thank you for the very thorough geekspeak and reduction of the topic of FIND ALL and EXACT MATCH.
This thread is being followed closely by our newbie forums, because of the topic of "awkward phrases" which was the original cry for help from a newbie in this particular forum. So the thread was announced etc. So there are some guys watching the SEO deathmatch.
Because this is also a topic for my group, Sue and I have read your "debate" with great interest- getting past what seems like 'bad blood' in order to glean the truth for a few hundred folks.
The original keywords Adrian asked you about were:
bowel cancer symptom
early symptom bowel cancer
sign and symptom of bowel cancer
cancer bowel sign symptom
advanced cancer bowel symptom
The real issue is that both of you seem to be "right" about many of the same things- and it seems that the original purpose (to help the novice mindset, if not the specific newbie) should come back around.
1. What would you tell a newbie about the issue of "awkward phrases"?
Our position has been to encourage them to add natural, context-friendly expressions where it makes sense and the proximity and rarity will (generally) take care of itself. This is GENERALLY what we understood Michael to be saying.
If after building traffic and strong themes they get multiple "artificial" queries showing up consistently in their web-log files, they may want to consider using them in some sort of on-page context, but even better they may want to drill into the awkward terms and find more coherent phrases and themes with higher trafficked expressions.
What is more important than getting lost in the forest (website page) with the trees (keyword order, rarity and density) is probably comprehending the overall theme of the website and how that natural or awkward phrase fits into the larger whole.
Now I admit that Michael has made me seriously reconsider some of my own notions in regards to rarity.
I will need to digest this for awhile, because now we are looking at rarity as it relates to overall theme. (Kewl).
I could be wrong- and although I am dazzled by you guys technical reduction of the "query order" to "page order" contradiction-
. . . it still seems like the real issue that Dan brought up was diluted and then brought back:
QUOTE(DanThies @ Aug 4 2006, 11:54 AM)
OK, Michael, what the heck... quotes from you:
So which is it? Word order doesn't matter, or the first word is more important?
First word in the query versus word order in the document. That's not an either/or concept.
It seems to me that this encapsulates the essence of the "argument". And Michaels answer should be brought back "down" to the real world issue:
What do most search users type in? When does it make PRACTICAL sense to use awkward phrases throughout your website. I have about as much interest in "forced" awkward phrases as I do in the Overture suggestion tool.
NO REALLY, "Canadian Company Engine Optimization Search" is a real keyword. (As if).
The results from this query comes up differently between exact
and find all
obviously. There are a ton of sites that have it on the page as an "exact match" because they pulled it from Overture query spam, right? ( I am really asking, since you guys are the experts).
Yet in find all mode, "search engine optimization" is zoomed in on- on the SERP and I am not certain how much rarity plays a role- in this case it must be the word "optimization".
Actually after looking at it I can see how the top 5 queries cluster around the rare keyword and proximity follows- bringing back some pretty wacky spam pages.
Real questions however-
1. What the heck are your average customers and prospects really typing in? Dan has an excellent chapter in his book on specific versus broad terms- how a visitor behaves when they are using the search engines for one or the other.
2. How many people really
use artificial awkward keyword queries to make it worth your while to optimize your website or webpage for these phrases?
3. If you do
have a lot of awkward keyword phrases being used to arrive on your site, what are the reasons for it, and how can you take advantage of it? Doesn't it make more sense to drill into these terms for higher traffic expressions . . . thus increasing the "rarity" factor for more expressions across your entire website theme?
4. Is it possible that having above average amounts of "expert verbiage" from the brains of subject matter experts about a website 'topic or theme' create more traffic to your website overall?
Thanks again guys!