SEO Tip: Keyword Plurals (or not)

I’m in the beginning stages of a Search Engine Optimization and Link-Building Campaign for a NYC Private Investigator agency, called Cornelius Investigations. Before beginning this campaign. I had to ask myself if there was a difference between someone going to google and searching for “NYC private investigator
(singular) versus searching for “NYC private investigators” (plural). What do you think?

It’s crucial to consider the differences between the plural and singular versions of a keyword term. They can often mean dramatically different things to both a customer and to google and they can get different numbers of searches. It can make the difference between a successful and unsuccessful campaign.

There are many factors to consider. But today, we will cover the two most important factors:

1) The intent of the searcher.
2) The number of searches.

Is there a difference in intent between the plural and singular keyword search?

In the private investigator example above, the answer is not clear cut. However, consider this one: Searching for “apple” or searching for “apples.” You can probably guess that someone searching for “apple” is looking for the computer and someone searching for “apples” is looking for the fruit. Not always, of course, but more often than not. In this case, simply adding an “S” the end of a word can change the meaning of the search.

If you are not convinced, do a search on google. The top 10 searches for “apple” on google are all (yes, ALL) related to Apple Computer. If you search for “apples” you will still get many listings about apple computer. But you will also find results related to the Washington Apple Commission, the different varieties of the apple fruit and so forth. In this case, google has decided that the searches may represent different needs

How would this play out in your niche or industry? Does the plural of your main keyword mean something different than the singular? Do a google search for both terms – does google show different results for each? Do the top ten results look different between the singular and plural? If so, you may need to consider which is the most important for your business and then optimize for that term.

Which gets more searches, the plural or the singular?

Many times one version of a keyword will get far more searches than the other. For example, on any given day there may be ten times as many people searching for “free credit report” as “free credit reports.” Can you see why? If someone wants a free credit report, that’s exactly what they will type. They don’t need to add the plural to get what they want. That’s just one example. I’ve seen many case in which the plural gets more searches. A quick way to do this research is to use Wordtracker’s free keyword tool. Go there right now and see what you find. Which keyword term in your niche gets more searches?

Take home message: Singular and plural keywords can often be considered different searches.

The plural and singular of a keyword can be very different. Different in the mind of your customer. Different in the eyes of google. And different in the number of searches. So do a little keyword research and competitive research and see what is the best for you to target on your website.

One thought on “SEO Tip: Keyword Plurals (or not)

  1. I have been researching this for a very long time now and I have not been able to find such top quality information untill I came to your blog today.

    Mark McCulloch

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