In a hangout, during the Question and Answer segment, John Mueller was asked about how Google treats abbreviations on a page.
The SEO professional’s question was: so on their website, they have a lot of shortcuts. For example, one shortcut would have an English version labeled as “eg,” to represent the phrase “for example.”
How would Google handle this?
John explained that, for the short answer: Google doesn’t actually do anything special with these types of things.
They treat abbreviations as tokens on a page. And, a token – John explained – is essentially a word or a phrase on a page. They would likely recognize that they’re known synonyms for some of these and understand that a little.
However, Google wouldn’t really do anything specific here.
According to John, Google doesn’t really have a glossary of what an abbreviation means, nor do they have a specific way to handle the abbreviations.
This is something where, especially when it comes to synonyms, Google’s systems will learn these over time. And for the most part, they will handle them when people search and not when they do the indexing.
John recommended a video with Paul Haahr on the Search Central YouTube channel from an event, from around December 2020 or 2019. He’s one of the engineers who works on the search quality side at Google.
In that video, he goes through some of the synonym challenges that Google has run into in the past.
And John found this super interesting to look at and suggested that this would likely give an SEO pro some ideas on how Google might handle some of these types of expansions when it comes to abbreviations.
This happens at approximately the 48:45 mark in the video.