Look at this a search query:
(note the word "essay")
Check out the first (as of Feb.1, 2012) result. The word "paper" is bold:
Research Paper on Introvert vs. Extrovert Personalities - College ...
www.academon.com › Psychology › Behaviorism
Research Paper on Introvert vs. Extrovert Personalities - Library of College Term Papers, Research Papers, Essays and Book Reports.
- Google thinks that "paper" and "essay" are synonyms.
- Google knows that "paper" means "research paper" or "term paper" and it's not about printers and copy machines or parchment / waxed paper.
- Google does not highlight the plural form, "papers". It will if you search for "essays" in plural.
So far, it's all interesting observations, but here is what I have difficulty explaining:If you look at the page itself, you will see a tons of "paper" in the content and just a couple of "essay". BUT: if you replace "essay" with "paper" in the search query, this page drops down from #1 to #4.
So, Google prefers a synonym to the exact match in this case!
What do you think? Please comment.