optimized all pages without this symbol - keyword performed decreased

5 replies

In my industry, a lot of our keywords have this symbol () because we talk about the 401(k). However I recently optimized all pages to reflect 401k. Will that affect my ranking for "401(k)" or does google know that these two keywords are the same? I was also thinking that in the future, I incorporate both versions: 401k AND 401(k). Will that make a difference?

#decreased #keyword #optimized #pages #performed #symbol
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  • Profile picture of the author Carter M
    I don't see any reason why this would affect your rankings.

    When you make a Google search for "401k", there are a mix of results from some websites that are using parentheses and some without. Google is really smart so they should know that these two things are exactly the same.

    Investopedia, Wikipedia, and WSJ are all using 401(k)

    If I were you, I would just keep the parentheses to be safe. Why did you feel the need to change it in the first place?

    Hope this helps,
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  • Profile picture of the author dave_hermansen
    Google definitely sees them as different because the results pages for the two searches are similar but definitely different. I guess you need to figure out which of the results pages you have a better chance of ranking for (which has less competition).
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  • Profile picture of the author Jamell
    That is called keyword canibalization and it is harmful and can get you penalized.In addition to that you creating competition for yourself
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    • Is it cannibalization if we don't use 401(k) as a keyword but just one part of a keyphrase? For example "401k retirement investments" is one keyphrase and "401k qualified plan" would be another keyphrase that we're trying to rank for.

      In wordpress, our seo always scored yellow when the bracket was included in a keyphrase. We also didn't get keyword insights from Wordpress. Without the brackets, we were able to see the insights/what changes we needed to make to improve the seo score to green. Not quite sure how a green SEO score in Wordpress translates on SERPs, but that's the reasoning behind the change.
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  • Give it a full day or two and see where the rankings end up - it may bounce back higher.

    If it STAYS DOWN - then change it back, and re-submit to GSC - and you should be fine then

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