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The destructive power of plurals

Posted on September 4, 2011


There may be a malignant force stalking your keywords. No, don’t look – it might notice. Just peer at it in your peripheral vision, if you can. See it there? In the alphabet – right between the ‘r’ and the ‘t’.

It’s amazing what one little ‘s’ can do. It turns a computer into computers. It turns Apple into apples. It even turns the industry of SEO into a group of gossiping SEOs. More importantly for your search engine optimisation campaign, it can turn your keyword list from expansive to limited.

Plural keywords, or alternately the singular keywords, are an issue that not many site owners think about. The search engines seem so adaptive to user needs these days that it’s easy to assume that keywords don’t need to be exact matches. In some cases, they don’t need to be – you can safely separate words in a keyword string, or even mix them together. If you want to compete against top-ranking sites, however, it’s important to have everything in the best order possible, and that includes keeping your keywords open to singular searches.

Once the issue is recognised, there are a couple of other things to think about:

1. Should you exclude plurals completely?
2. If not, how do you work them onto your pages?

There are mixed thoughts in the industry about whether singular keywords can stand in for plurals. If you do decide to include both in your SEO keyword list, it’s going to need some fancy copywriting footwork to work them in naturally, but it can be done.

Carl Hopkinson

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