Is it better to use the singular version of your keyword, or is it better to use the plural version? For example, will I get more traffic for the word “laptop” or “laptops?”

The answer, of course, is it depends. There is never a one-size-fits-all answer to selecting your key phrases.

Hitwise produced a very interesting analysis comparing the top 10 key phrases containing the word “laptop”, excluding branded terms. And they conclude that the use of the singular or plural versions might indicate different buying behaviours.

Phrases like “cheap” and “free” appear prominently on both versions, but Hitwise identified that for the top phrases:

  • the singular version was more commonly used when looking for laptop accessories like batteries, bags and cases
  • the plural version contained stronger buying singles, like “laptops UK” or “pink laptops”
  • the singular version also contained plural qualifiers like “laptop computers”

And when analysing which phrases then resulted in searchers going to a shopping website, Hitwise concluded the plural version generally drove more visitors to ecommerce or buying sites.

You might conclude that the plural version would be best for your search engine optimisation strategy.

But if we look at the Google Trends data comparing laptop vs laptops, we see that more than twice as many people in the UK are searching for variations of the singular as compared to the plural versions:

So what is going on? This, of course, is the Long Tail, users searching on literally thousands of variations of your keywords, for example “light weight laptop” or “finger print recognition laptop.”

So what might we conclude from all this?

  • compare the search volume of your specific phrases, for instance “laptops uk” vs “laptop uk” and build your content and linking strategy accordingly
  • but do not overlook the broader keyphrases that encompass the high quality detailed searches your propsects may be using.

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