Originally at https://searchenginewatch.com/2016/05/17/how-one-small-word-makes-a-huge-difference-on-google-serps/

Recently we’ve had a lot of internal discussions about the importance of keywords and the various combinations, including match type.

This discussion revealed a few interesting nuances that I thought were worth sharing.

The focus will be how the search results page changes with just one additional change to the search query and what the implications of that word mean.

For this article I picked the keyword “best.” This is certainly worth looking into as much as a number of other terms like “near me,” “cheap,” or “men/women/kids,” however “best” also makes all the points I’d like to share.

How does the search results page change?

Let’s start by searching for “HD TVs” and then adding the word “best.”

From a user intent perspective you would assume that this is still pretty high in the funnel. The customer isn’t sure which TV or brand they are looking for. But by adding the word “best” to the query Google makes a few key changes to the search results;

In-store only appears on the more generic “HD TV” search. Google makes an assumption that local inventory has a greater level of influence on this type of search.
Ranking bubbles are included when the term “best” is included. Google is inferring that some type of ranking is desired by the consumer and uses ratings and reviews as the driver behind these rankings.
Star ratings are included for all ads when “best” is included. Similar to the ranking bubbles Google is assuming that consumer feedback will be the most helpful in this situation.

best and no best results

What does the data say?

I also wanted to take a quick look at the data to see how these keywords performed. I pulled a search term report and filtered for keywords containi…

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