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In a site's main menu, one link points to the page containing a list of links to several software packages.

By following this link in the main menu, the user's action can be seen from two different perspectives, either:

  • find a list of downloads, or
  • download the package she's looking for.

My research so far helped understanding that the singular and plural version of the same keyword are two different entities in the eyes of a search engine. Yet after many SEO articles, I didn't find a clear choice among singular vs. plural.

Some schools of thought recommend optimizing for both as the best solution, but I only need one as the hook for the link.

What is the best decision in this case — download vs. downloads — and why?

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Yes but the name i'm after on etsy.com is taken. The plural. I have contacted the owners because we have a TM. They changed name to word a ART word b. But etsy wont release the word. I could go with the singular word but would that be good? We sell more than one at the time. Well i guess singular is better than some other random letters at the end –  user28987 Jun 20 '13 at 8:04
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2 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

The practice of truncating terms to a root (not necessarily singular or plural) for search indexing is known as "stemming" and is employed by most advanced search engines.

In the context of the word "download" (which may be either a noun or a verb) there is a possibility that the heuristic will treat the term differently depending upon its context, however, your keyword research should reveal the most likely terms which you can expect users to enter - reorganize your content accordingly.

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First of all, google will often substitute the plural form of a word with the singular form of the word (or vise versa), as shown in this search query for forums.

google search for forums results in a result with forum as the keyword

NOTE: For those who were wondering, bing and duckduckgo do this too.

That said, what I would do is I would use the singular form when the item is singular, and the plural form when the item is plural. In your case, the item is a list (a list implies multiple items), so I would use downloads. Doing otherwise would confuse the user.

In addition, doing otherwise is bad SEO. If a user searches for downloads, then they probably want more than one download. If you use downloads when you should have used the singular form, then you will have confused the searcher, who was expecting more than one download.

Keep in mind that google will often substitute the plural form of a word with the singular form of the word, so in a situation where a user searches for download but downloads would be more relevant, google will display results for downloads as well.

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