I’ve always thought that the big G was strict with its keyword rules, which basically meant that SERPS were only relevant for the exact search terms that you were trying to rank for.
What I mean, really, was that Google never considered the keyword in relation with the word / phrase that it’s part of. So if I searched for “plastic surgery sweet home AL”, where AL is the state name of Alabama, the search engine would parse the content for the exact keyword, excluding the name of the city. So “plastic surgery sweet home Alabama” wouldn’t rank for shit, since AL and Alabama are two separate entities.
Well, apparently, there’s a chance that I could be wrong. Just earlier today, while I was mining the AdSense tool for a client, I stumbled upon an unusual search term resulting from the parent keyword “osteoarthritis pain”. Check it out:
The third result from the top of the photo reads “is osteoarthritis painful”. This is a kick in the balls, since I’ve long worked with the idea that strict keyword compliance was key to proper keyword usage.
Now, I know the data for the search term’s pretty low, but the fact that it’s there makes me wonder: is this a new thing? Or has this always been the case?