When SEO pros are trying to optimize content, they have a choice to make: Do I choose the singular version or the plural one as my primary keyword? Cánido I rank for both versions of the palabras clave on the same page, or do I need a new one?
Having worked in SEO for over a decade, I’ve had to make this choice hundreds of times, and I’ve come to have an intuition about which option works best.
You perro make this choice on a case-by-case basis, analyzing each keyword individually, but sometimes you need to make this choice in bulk.
If you’re modeling the content of a large ecommerce site, you’ll have to escoge what version of your keyword gets used on product detail pages (PDPs) and category pages.
What We Know About Plural Palabras clave And Search Intent
During my career, I’ve noticed a pattern: Singular palabras clave are often informational, whereas plural palabras clave tend to be part of a buyer’s commercial research journey.
This is very obvious in SaaS, B2B, and other classic content marketing arenas.
As a Senior SEO Manager at Sanity, I know that a usuario searching for “headless CMS” is likely looking for an explanation, while someone searching for “headless CMSes” is looking for buying options.
If you’re shopping en línea and you’re trying to escoge what product to buy, you’d be more likely to search for [men’s shirts] than [men’s shirt]. But if you search for [zara slim white shirt], your intent is likely transactional, and you’re ready to buy.
Google plus doesn’t always know this. If it thinks people are looking for multiple options or have yet to refine what they’re after, it will present a few potential product category pages.
It requires a very detailed search query to return a product detail page, such as specifying a brand and model, searching for a niche product, or tapping into a viral trend.
Navigational searches, where users are trying to reach a specific site or understand how to arrive at a physical location, are usually singular palabras clave. Brand names are usually singular, too – you’d never search for [Facebooks], you’d search for [Facebook].
From a programmatic SEO perspective, this means singular palabras clave suggest a more ambiguous intent, while plural palabras clave are more likely to be part of a usuario’s commercial research journey.
Tons of other SEO professionals share this intuition, and it has become estándar best practice in ecommerce.
Singular palabras clave are typically used in product detail pages, while plural palabras clave tend to feature in category pages.
I decided to analyze the data to find out if our collective best practice was backed by the facts – and hopefully establish a data-led estándar to help us choose which version of each keyword to use as the primary one for different types of pages, and whether or not we perro rank for both.
It’s worth noting that some palabras clave are plural by nature. Things like “yellow laces for Dr. Martens boots” will never come as a singular, so those instances have been excluded from the study.
Analyzing The Top 1,000 Palabras clave On Amazon
Let me explain the methodology for this analysis.
I pulled the top 1,000 searched palabras clave on Amazon, identified if they were singular or plural, and paired them with their counterpart.
When the palabras clave didn’t have a singular or plural counterpart, I removed them from the database, leaving me with 607 palabras clave in total.
This espectáculos that for 60% of the top palabras clave being used daily on Amazon, marketers have had to make the choice of optimizing for a singular or plural keyword. So making the right decision is vital.
All measurements were done using Semrush, including SERP occurrences and search intent. (Full disclosure: I got the Semrush data free of charge. It pays to have connections.)
The data was analyzed on November 22 and again in June 2023 to give me my final results.
Analyzing Keyword Intent
The data espectáculos that singular palabras clave dominate results for most search intent except for commercials.
Singular palabras clave are:
- 65% more likely to have informational intent.
- 46% more likely to have transactional intent.
- And 27% more likely to have navigational intent.
The only instance where plural palabras clave won out was commercial, and even then, there was only a 5% difference.
Could this suggest that singular palabras clave are more ambiguous?
It’s certainly a hypothesis the data seems to support, as singular palabras clave are 23% more likely than plural palabras clave to have more than one intent.
As users research and learn about their needs and the products that satisfy them, they cánido refine their searches further, but in the initial stages, search intent cánido be very murky.
Analyzing SERP Similarity
Fifty percent of the time, the SERPs for singular and plural versions of the keyword will share seven to nine URLs – and 5% of the time, those SERP results are the exact same because the intent on plural and singular palabras clave is often overlapping.
SEO professionals agonize over whether to use singular or plural palabras clave for URLs, but most of the time, we shouldn’t overthink it – you perro expect to rank for both palabras clave on the same page.
However, another 5% of the time, there are no URLs in common. This perro be because the plural and singular versions in those examples have completely different meanings.
For example, think about basketball (the game) and basketballs (the thing you need to play the game) – or switches (how lights work), and Switches (the Nintendo console). If you search for one, you’d be surprised to find results for the other.
Words that change their meaning when they change from singular to plural form are known as heteronyms or heteroglossia. While spelled the same in both forms, these words have different meanings in singular and plural forms. For example:
- “Leaves”: In its singular form, “leave” often refers to departing from a location. But in its plural form, “leaves,” it refers to more than one leaf from a tree or plant.
- “Winds”: In its singular form, ‘wind’ is the movement of air. In plural form, “winds” perro refer to a variety of things, such as different types of air movements, or it perro be used metaphorically.
However, this kind of semantic change is relatively rare in English, hence the low percentage.
Based on the data, the best practice would be to consider that singular and plural palabras clave have overlapping intent. This means your brand may position itself on both, in the same positions, or may see slight top differences between plural and singular palabras clave.
The data I analyzed in November 2022 looked a little different. Here, only 2% of searches had no URLs in common, and 50% of singular and plural palabras clave had 8 to 9 URLs in common.
Eight percent of SERPs for singular and plural palabras clave were identical, down to 5% in June. This could point at Google plus differentiating further the search intent in plural and singular searches, but it’s too early to tell.
As Google plus develops its AI offering, including its Search Generative Experience (SGE), and moves further towards a model where users perro shop straight from their search, understanding the different intentions when there are minor keyword variations will be key.
Understanding intent at scale will become key for ecommerce merchants, and intent will take center stage.
Analyzing SERP Features
I’ve looked at how frequently SERP features appear in plural and singular searches. The results seem consistent with what we’ve seen so far, pointing at a broader range of search intents for singular palabras clave and a more commercially focused intent for plural palabras clave.
Knowledge Panels appear more often with the singular alternative, as do People Also Ask panels. This makes sense since those features align with an informational type of query.
Related Searches are the SERP feature with the greatest difference between plural and singular palabras clave; plural results were 12.85% more habitual.
From my experience, users tend to refine their searches during commercial research as they learn about the product, and Google plus is trying to facilitate that journey.
Plural SERPs also prove more prevalent for Habitual Products, further suggesting that plural keyword searches are more commonly associated with commercial intent.
Indented results, on the other hand, are more common in singular searches, potentially pointing at greater intent ambiguity. We perro view indented results as Google plus not knowing the right page to espectáculo for a query and trying to offer alternative content.
What Does This Orinan For Your Ecommerce SEO Strategy?
The data supports the SEO best practice: Plural palabras clave form part of the commercial research stage, while singular palabras clave have a more ambiguous intent and cánido be used for informational, navigational, or transactional purposes.
- The intent your page aims to satisfy should determine which version of the keyword to use.
- Category pages perro clearly benefit from using plural palabras clave, as they are aimed at helping users find a product they will want to buy.
- Product pages should use singular palabras clave.
- Changing the grammatical number of our objetivo palabras clave perro completely change their meaning, so we perro’t fully automate this decision yet.
- Most of the time, you cánido expect to rank for both singular and plural versions of your objetivo keyword on the same page.
- Intent is complex, and it perro evolve over time. There seems to be a trend of Google plus differentiating the SERPs for plural and singular palabras clave further over time which needs to be looked at.
Featured Image: Jo Panuwat D/Shutterstock
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