Posted 25 May 2008 - 01:58 PM
I am soooooo glad this question was asked because I have a theory about this that I want to suggest/ask about.
It seems to me that as keyword phrases get longer, what is actually happening is that the search parameters are being modified to narrower the results to get more relevant pages. It makes sense that if I'm looking for Widget Inspectors that I will get information about 'Widgets' modified by the term 'Inspectors'. If I want Widget Inspectors in Illinois, I will use the phrase 'Widget Inspector Chicago' because the term Chicago narrows the search even more. If the search engines perceive the first term to be the width and the following terms to be the depth of the search, then obviously the results for 'Chicago Widget Inspectors' will be different because the width term is different.
I also tend to look further down the keyword results in KeywordDiscovery to see how searchers modify a 'core' keyword or phrase so that I can make my content writing more relevant and specific based on use of language, adjectives and modifiers. Even from state to state, region to region, and especially from country to country, people use language differently - even if we all think we are speaking English. Here in Ireland, people call 'auto insurance' 'auto cover' and that is a huge difference in keyword strategy. But I digress...
The question in all this is whether or not the search engines care about the order of the keyword phrase within the content, and I once had a complete mind melt down with the thought of how language structures would have to change if we had to write terms like 'Widget Inspector Chicago' without the preposition. But a very wise SEO source once told me that proximity matters and that prepositions don't (in other words, use the prepositions or the humans who actually read the pages will think a grade school drop out wrote it) - I just want to check to see if that is true. He went so far as to say that if terms were in different lines but one term was right above another term that this proximity counted, is that true? I know it looks that way when I perform a search in Google.
Thanks for the opportunity to finally get at this question.