Power to the Plural?

When it comes time to choose which keywords you wish to target for your latest search engine optimization project, you may want to stop and consider how the use of plural verses singular terms will impact search traffic.

A recent post by Robin Goad of Hitwise suggests that in many cases, plural keywords drive more traffic to retail websites than singular versions of the same word.

The post compares search volume and percentages of searchers who ended up on retail or shopping sites, as they relate to a list of singular and plural keywords such as laptop(s), mobile phone(s), dvd(s), and six others. The results favored plural keywords in a 6-3 victory.

Does this mean we should alter our primary focus and only target keywords with that extra s, -es, or whatever their plural variation might be? With the above information, you may be quick to favor this idea instead of going with singular terms. However, Goad does tell us that we shouldn’t abandon singular terms just yet.

In response to his results, Goad states,

Of course, this isn’t to say that ‘laptops’ is a better term than ‘laptop’, just that the plural and singular searches display different behaviors. Indeed, if you are looking to sell accessories rather than computers then it would be much better to optimize for terms containing ‘laptop’.

So where does this quick bit of research leave us? Which type of keyword should we target? Plural? Singular? It all depends on the products being offered.

The variation in which keywords drive the most relevant traffic is simply one more thing to keep in mind when optimizing your content. Though it seems in the majority of searches, the plural wins the traffic battle, singular terms still have their niche. When in doubt and when you can, it doesn’t hurt to target both.