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Do People Search More for Singulars or Plurals?

Posted in: Keywords by Richard Hearne on March 11, 2008
Internet Marketing Ireland

So leaving the ‘SEO bullshit’ bullshit behind, here’s a serious non-bullshit post that anyone working in the transactional space should definitely read:

Plural or Singular search terms?

According to Robin Goad over at Hitwise, plural search terms accounted for more traffic to e-commerce sites than their singular counterparts. Robin uses data collected within the Hitwise app, so it’s safe to say the conclusions have high relevance from a search perspective.

So, while the results are not conclusive, it does seem that plural terms are better at sending traffic to retailers than singular terms. Two thirds of the products tested performed better as plurals, with technology products in particular skewing in favour of an added ‘s’. Indeed, the search term ‘mobile phones’ sent almost five times as much traffic Shopping and Classifieds sites as ‘mobile phone’, while for ‘digital cameras’ / ‘digital camera’ the ratio was 4:1.

Well worth a read – head over and check out his post.

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  1. I see a large difference in singular & plural keywords across a number of my different niches. I don’t have any figures at hand but the gap is quite big.

    Comment by Gavin — March 11, 2008 @ 10:48 am

  2. Now that’s interesting. I sometimes pause while tagging a post. Do I tag it with “swan” or “swans”? I wonder if I can add singular/plural keyword checking into my stats script ..

    Comment by Donncha O Caoimh — March 13, 2008 @ 9:40 am

  3. @Gavin – wouldn’t we all love to know your dirty little secrets – just what niches are you involved in eh? LOL

    @Donnacha – are you running a custom script for WP?

    Comment by Richard Hearne — March 13, 2008 @ 5:10 pm

  4. Nothing interesting, just a small script that records the last 7 days referrers. I’m sure I could extract keywords out of Google searches though. If I had time ..

    Comment by Donncha O Caoimh — March 13, 2008 @ 5:20 pm

  5. I’d never really looked at the singular vs. plural thing, but I guess it makes sense. I normally look for a particular item, so I’d be using the singular, but my recent foray into the world of decent home cinema equipment has found me searching more generically

    Comment by Michele — March 13, 2008 @ 7:40 pm

  6. Now that google keywords shows ‘exact numbers’ you can compare singular vs plural search terms – I find they differ by term to be honest. Sometimes singular more, sometimes plural more.

    (To see why they’re not really exact numbers, I explain here: – still better than the funny green bar they used to show!!)

    Comment by malcolm coles — September 2, 2008 @ 10:58 pm

  7. Hey, good information! I have been doing some tests with key words on singulars and plurals and I found that plurals get searched for more.

    Comment by Jay Hall — December 12, 2008 @ 5:31 am

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